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2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness
                            Audit of Venezuela's Federal
                            Electoral System



Executive Summary: Venezuela received an exceptional overall score of 85 percent for
electoral fairness. This score means that Venezuela's constitutional and legislative basis for
democracy is exceptional, innovative, and progressive. The source of Venezuela's highly
democratic basis is its Constitution which puts significant emphasis on individual rights and
societal plurality, cooperation, and respect. These core values extend consistently through
Venezuela's electoral laws. Further, as a source of innovation and fairness, the Venezuelan
National Electoral Council has the power legally and financially to ensure a fair diffusion of
electoral propaganda, and thereby prevent wealthy citizens, legal entities, candidates, and
parties from dominating electoral discourse.




                                                  Electoral Fairness Audit Completed May 27, 2011.
                                                  Updated July 7, 2011. Updated October 2, 2011.
About the Foundation for Democratic Advancement:

The Foundation for Democratic Advancement ("FDA")'s mission is to advance fair and
transparent democratic processes wherever elections occur. The FDA believes that fairer
electoral systems and a more informed public will help ensure the election of candidates who
truly represent the will of the people. The FDA fulfills its mission by performing detailed
electoral audits on political candidates and parties to inform the public, objectively and
impartially, about their electoral choices. Also, the FDA audits electoral legislation in terms of
fairness and equity, and conducts ground level assessments of democratic processes. (For more
information on the FDA visit: www.democracychange.com)

Purpose of Electoral Fairness Audit:

The purpose of the FDA’s electoral fairness audit (the “Audit”) is to determine a grade and
ranking for electoral fairness in Venezuela at the parliamentary level of government. This Audit
is part of the FDA’s global audit of electoral fairness involving all countries which hold political
elections. The FDA's goal is to give the citizens of Venezuela an informed, objective perspective
of the fairness of the Venezuelan federal electoral system.

The views in this electoral fairness audit are the views of the FDA only. The FDA’s members and
volunteers are in no way affiliated with the Venezuelan National Electoral Council or any of the
Venezuelan registered/non-registered political parties. The Audit is an independent assessment
based on objectivity, transparency and non-partisanship. The FDA assumes no responsibility or
liability for any errors in the calculation of its audit results or inaccuracies in its research of
relevant Venezuelan legislation.

Methodology for the Electoral Fairness Audit:

The FDA uses the methodology of more reasonableness which was created by FDA founder and
executive director, Stephen Garvey. The methodology focuses on facts themselves for fairness
and unfairness, and their comparative numerical value. To determine the correct numerical value
for facts, FDA auditors are guided by matrices which show the numerical value of established
facts, and FDA scoring scales for fairness and unfairness.

The FDA focuses on four key areas of electoral fairness:

1) Laws and regulations on the political content of media including newspapers, broadcasters and
online media before, during, and after elections;

2) Laws and regulations on the candidates’ and parties’ influence before, during and after
elections, such as national televised debates, restrictions on candidate nominations, party
registration requirements, etc.;

3) Laws and regulations on electoral finance, such as party and campaign donation limits, third
party spending limits etc.; and



Foundation for Democratic Advancement
4) Laws and regulations on voter say before, during, and after an election. The FDA auditors
determine the fairness of Venezuelan laws and regulations for voter say in the media, at the
polling booth, through electoral finance and constitutional laws etc.

The FDA audits these four areas of electoral fairness because, in our opinion, they are often
ignored or overlooked by the international community in determining electoral fairness.
Moreover, these four areas cover broad aspects of the electoral process in which fairness could
be compromised significantly. The FDA acknowledges that electoral laws and regulations may
not necessarily correspond to the implementation of those laws and regulations or the public’s
response to them. The implementation and response could be positive or negative, in terms of
electoral fairness. Nevertheless, laws and regulations provide the foundation for democracy,
framework for the electoral system, and an indication of electoral fairness. Also, a country's
constitutional and electoral laws are part of the reality of its democracy. A further study which
tracks the actions of mainstream media and the enforcement or non-enforcement of electoral
laws and regulation, for example, would provide a more reliable overall determination of
electoral fairness.

The FDA researched current Venezuelan legislation, in relation to the four areas of electoral
fairness being audited. Following which, the FDA audited the research results via the FDA
electoral audit team and established FDA matrices and scoring scales. The scores and the reasons
for them are recorded.

Weighting and Scoring:

Overall, the FDA scoring is guided by an inherent valuation of the concepts of soundness and
relevancy. Each area of electoral fairness has a score range between 0 and 10, and each area is
counted equally. The FDA auditors allow for overlap of electoral fairness areas, due to the
interconnectedness of the areas. For example, electoral finance will be factored into the score for
voter say and candidate and party influence if it is relevant to these areas. The total averaged
score will provide an indication of the electoral fairness in Venezuela.

The FDA electoral audit team deliberated on the research on each area of electoral fairness, and
then attempted to reach consensus on the scores. When no consensus could be reached, the
individual scores of the team were averaged. The final score for each area must be supported by
more sound reasons and correspond to the established FDA matrices and scoring scale.

FDA Researchers for the Venezuelan federal electoral system:

Mr. Stephen Garvey, FDA founder and executive director, bachelors degree in Political Science
(University of British Columbia), and masters degree in Environment and Development
(University of Cambridge).
Mr. Ben Zapata, lawyer, researcher, FDA volunteer, bachelor degree in Law (Free Law School,
Mexico City), masters degree in Law (Northwestern University), and Mexican citizen.




Foundation for Democratic Advancement
FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Team:

Chief Electoral Auditor:

Mr. Stephen Garvey, FDA founder and executive director, bachelors degree in Political Science
(University of British Columbia), and masters degree in Environment and Development
(University of Cambridge).

Electoral Auditors:

Mr. Torben Attrup, FDA researcher and auditor, bachelor degree in History (University of
London), and United Kingdom citizen.
Mr. Daniel McDermott, FDA technical and marketing executive, researcher, and fourth year
Political Science major (University of Calgary).
Mr. Aurangzeb Qureshi, FDA public relations specialist and researcher, bachelor degree in
Political Science (University of Alberta), and bachelor degree in Journalism (University of
King's College).
Mrs. Liza Valentine, FDA design consultant, masters degree in Architecture (University of
Calgary) and researcher.

Observers:

Mr. Jeyson Salazar, Colombian citizen.
Ms. Jeissy Valencia, Colombian citizen.

Editorial Advisory Board:

Dr. Arun Gadre, author, MD, project manager, and Indian citizen.


© 2011, Foundation for Democratic Advancement
All rights reserved.
Foundation for Democratic Advancement
728 Northmount Drive NW
PO Box 94
Calgary, Alberta
Canada, T2K 1P0
info@democracychange.com




Foundation for Democratic Advancement
Table of Contents:
Chapter 1: Political Content of Media                           8

Executive Summary                                               8

Research Excerpts                                               8

Score                                                           14

Rational                                                        14

Chapter 2 Equality of Political Candidate and Party Influence   15

Executive Summary                                               15

Research Excerpts                                               15

Score                                                           22

Rational                                                        22

Chapter 3: Equality of Electoral Finance                        23

Executive Summary                                               23

Research Excepts                                                23

Score                                                           25

Rational                                                        25

Chapter 4: Equality of Voter Say                                26

Executive Summary                                               26

Research Excerpts                                               26

Score                                                           27

Rational                                                        27

Chapter 5: Overall Audit Results                                28

Chapter 6: Analysis                                             29
Chapter 7: Conclusion                30

Chapter 8: Recommendations           31

References:                          32

Appendix: FDA Global Audit Results   33
Chapter One: Political Content of Media
Chapter one will focus on the research and audit results of Venezuelan laws and regulations with
respect to the political content of media, including newspapers, broadcasters and on-line media,
before, during and after elections.

Executive Summary:

Venezuela received an exceptional score of 90 percent for equality of political content. Venezuela
has specific and highly democratic laws on the fairness of political content, and complete and
balanced electoral coverage. Public and private media and broadcasters are required legally to be
impartial. Media impartiality will encourage an equal playing field for political candidates and
parties and a broad electoral discourse, and ultimately empower Venezuelan voters by expanding
their electoral choice.

Research Excerpts:

The following excerpts were identified by the FDA researchers as relevant. The FDA researchers
made some excerpts bold to emphasize high relevance:

Article 80. The media may not refuse to broadcast election propaganda. In case of doubt or
dispute, interested or concerned may request the National Electoral Council to determine
whether the electoral propaganda the requirements of these rules, and its decision shall be
compulsory.

Article 81. The mass media and private information will be given a complete and balanced
coverage of related information and without distorting the reality of the campaign. To this
end, observe a strict balance in time and space dedicated to information relating to
activities carried out by the candidate or candidates.

Prohibition of publication of opinion polls

Article 82. It is prohibited to publish or disclose, through any social media or other media,
during the period of seven days prior to voting, the results of opinion polls or surveys that
aim to present preferences or voting intentions of electors or voters. It prohibits the
publication of surveys that do not have sheet.

Article 75. Do not be permitted electoral propaganda:
1. Outside the electoral campaign period established by the National Electoral Council.
2. Attack the honor, privacy, intimacy, self-image, confidence and reputation of individuals.
3. Promote war, discrimination or intolerance.
4. Promote disobedience to the law.
5. Data allowing identification of the sponsor or promoter of electoral propaganda and the Fiscal
Information Registry (RIF).
6. The hired or performed by natural or legal persons other than authorized by the candidates and

Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                    Page 7
candidates.
7. Discourage the right to vote.
8. Make degrading obscenities against the bodies and entities of public power, institutions and
public officials or public servants.
9. Use the image, sound or the presence of children or adolescents.
10. Use national or regional symbols of the nation or the image of the Founding Fathers of the
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, or the colors of the national flag or regional.
11. Use the image, name or names of any citizen, as well as colors and symbols that identify an
organization with political purposes, groups of citizens or citizens without their consent.
12. Violate the rules laid down in legislation on animal protection.
13. The publicly funded other than as provided in these rules.
14. Is funded from abroad.
15. Is privately funded not declared to the National Electoral Council and the National Integrated
Customs and Tax Administration (SENIAT).
16. Actions against the mental health of citizens.
17. Promote stereotypes of gender discrimination or otherwise

Chapter III
Social Electoral Propaganda in Social Media
Financing

The National Electoral Council may finance part or in full, the diffusion of electoral
propaganda in the media of radio, television or printed, in accordance with regulations
established for that purpose.

Impartiality of the media

Article 79. The media, public or private and independent producers can not make on their
own any type of propaganda aimed at supporting a candidate or a candidate, or to
encourage or discourage voting or vote constituencies for or against any of the nominations.
Obligation to disseminate electoral propaganda

Article 80. The media may not refuse to broadcast election propaganda. In case of doubt or
dispute, interested or concerned may request the National Electoral Council to determine
whether the electoral propaganda meets the requirements of these rules, and its decision shall be
compulsory.

Coverage

Article 81. The mass media and private information will be given a complete and balanced
coverage of related information and without distorting the reality of the campaign. To this
end, observe a strict balance in time and space dedicated to information relating to
activities carried out by the candidate or candidates.




Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                    Page 8
Prohibition of publication of opinion polls

Article 82. It is prohibited to publish or disclose, through any social media or other media, during
the period of seven days prior to voting, the results of opinion polls or surveys that aim to present
preferences or voting intentions of electors or voters. It prohibits the publication of surveys that
do not have sheet.

Prohibition of dissemination of election results before the first newsletter

Article 83. Is prohibited dissemination of election results by any means of social communication
before the National Electoral Council issued its first bulletin, which ordered the
telecommunications regulator for the immediate termination of the signal to social media violate
this article.

Free space broadcast

Article 84. The National Electoral Council shall have charge of an area of up to five minutes
daily in service providers and radio and cable television as well as a daily page in newspapers of
national circulation, regional or local level in order to disseminate messages about the electoral
process.

Chapter IV

Propaganda Electoral Administrative Investigations on Electoral Propaganda
Start administrative inquiry

Article 85. The National Electoral Council may order ex parte or on its own, before a public and
notorious fact, the initiation of administrative investigations of violations of electoral propaganda
rules.

Filing of complaints

Article 86. The complaints were filed in writing to the Commission on Political Participation and
Financing or to the Regional Electoral Offices concerned. In cases where the complainant or is
not domiciled or resident in the Metropolitan Area of Caracas refer the case to the Board of the
National Electoral Council which, to find sufficient evidence, administrative inquiry starts.
Otherwise, reject the complaint and ordered filed.

The requirements for handling complaints will be established in the regulations of this Law
Verifying Requirements

 Article 87. The Committee on Political Participation and Financing, or commission designated
for this purpose the National Electoral Council, after receiving the complaint or known to the
alleged violation, shall verify compliance with the requirements of the regulation within two
working days by remitting the case to the National Electoral Council, which, to find sufficient
evidence, administrative inquiry starts. Otherwise, reject the complaint and ordered filed.

Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                       Page 9
Ascertainment

Article 88. Started administrative inquiry, the National Electoral Council may direct the
Commission on Political Participation and Financing, or the commission to designate for that
purpose, that through an act of opening the record form and substance of the inquiry.

On receipt of the guarantee of due process and the right to defense, there will be notifying the
alleged offender or the alleged offender, so that within five working days following notification,
present the arguments and evidence in his defense. After this period, within ten working days, the
Commission on Political Participation and Financing, or commission designated for that purpose,
presented a draft resolution to the National Electoral Council for its consideration and decision
within five working days.

Monitoring of the electoral propaganda

Article 89. The National Electoral Council will monitor the electoral propaganda, in accordance
with the rules adopted in this regard.

Preventive measures

Article 90. The National Electoral Council, during the administrative proceedings, including the
opening act, may or upon request, issue the following preventive measures: order the media, as
the case suspension or immediate withdrawal of electoral propaganda in violation of its
obligations under this Act.

Agreed preventive measure, the alleged offender or the alleged infringement and other
stakeholders or interested in the proceedings that are directly affected by these measures, may
object to it orally or in writing within five working days from the date of notification . In case of
opposition, will open within five working days to claim and promote everything in his favor and
protection deemed appropriate, and within five working days to take evidence. After this period,
a decision motivated by act within five working days.

TITLE V
ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE FOR INQUIRIES
PROPAGANDA ELECTORAL ADVERTISING
ARTICLE 20 .-

The National Electoral Council may order the start of administrative investigation procedure, a
complaint.

The administrative investigation procedure automatically be incurred by decision National
Electoral Council.

Article 21 .- The complaints were filed in writing, before the Committee
Political Participation and Financing or to the Regional Electoral Offices


Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                        Page 10
The complaints they receive the Regional Electoral Offices be incorporated into the Automated
Control System in the opportunity receipt and subsequently sent to the Commission's original
Participation
Policy and Financing the business day following receipt

22 .- The written complaint must contain:
1. The identification of the complainant or, where appropriate, the person acting as its
representative and the document evidencing the alleged representation;
2. The narrative summary of the facts or acts constituting the alleged violation;
3. The identification, if possible, the person allegedly responsible;
4. The identification of social media that broadcast and other modes billboards, posters,
pamphlets, posters, stickers, etc.;
5. Location verified facts or acts complained of;
6. Copies of the supports or attachments such as videos, photographs, tapes and others;
7. Signature of the complainant or the person acting as legal representative or and address where
notifications will be practiced.
Not be dealt with complaints that do not meet the requirements set out above

Penalty system

Article 31 .- Without prejudice to criminal liability, civil or administrative
for failure to comply with the provisions contained in the Act and the
this regulation will result in the application of sanctions under the Act
Organic Elections.

ARTICLE 32 .- In accordance with the provisions of Article 74 of Law
Organic Elections, in accordance with Article 4 of this candidates or candidates, political
organizations, the

Voters groups or communities and indigenous organizations not comply with the obligation to
inform the National Electoral Council data identification of natural or legal persons authorized to
engage election propaganda shall be punished by a fine equivalent to five hundred Tax Units
(500 UT) to seven hundred tax units (700 UT) or arrest proportional basis of one day of arrest for
Tax Unit, in accordance as provided in Article 233 of the Organic Law of Elections.

Article 33 .- Those who violate the regulations under Article 5 of this Regulation on electoral
propaganda is not allowed, shall be punished a fine of five thousand tax units (5,000 TU) to
seven thousand units

Tax (7,000 UT), in accordance with the provisions of Article 232 paragraph 4 Organic Law of
Elections.

Article 34 .- Those who violate the regulations stipulated in Articles 6 and 7 hereto, shall be
punished by a fine of fifteen units Tax (15 UT) to fifty tax units (50 UT), or arrest proportional
basis of one day of arrest for Tax Unit, in accordance with the provisions of Article 230
paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Organic Law Process Election.

Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                         Page 11
Article 35 .- Those who violate the regulations stipulated in Articles 8 and 9 of this regulation
will be fined five hundred units Tax (500 UT) to seven hundred tax units (700 UT) or arrest
proportional basis of one day of arrest for Tax Unit, in accordance with the provisions of Article
233 of the Organic Law of Elections.

Article 36 .- The mass media, public or private, and independent producers who comply with the
provisions set out in Articles 79 of the Organic Law of Elections and 12 of this (5.000 Regulation
will be fined five thousand tax units (5,000 UT) to seven thousand tax units (7,000 UT), in
accordance with the provisions Article 232 paragraphs 4 and 7 of the Organic Law of Elections.

Article 37 .- In light of the provisions of Article 232 paragraph 1 of Law
Organic Elections, the managers and administrators, or those responsible for social media, public
or private, shall punished by a fine of five thousand tax units (5,000 TU) to seven thousand Tax
Units (7,000 UT), in case of breach of the provisions of Article 80 of the Organic Law on
Elections and Article 13 of this Regulation.

Article 38 .- In light of the provisions of Article 232 paragraph 6 of the Act Organic Elections,
social media, public or (5.000 private, will be fined five thousand tax units (5,000
UT) to seven thousand tax units (7,000 UT), in case of failure to laid down in Article 81 of Law
Electoral Processes in Organic relationship with Article 14 of this Regulation.

Article 39 .- Those who violate the regulations provided for in Article 82 of the
Organic Law of Elections, and Article 15 of this Regulation; will be fined five thousand tax units
(5,000 UT) to seven thousand tax units (7,000 UT), in accordance with the provisions of article
232 paragraph 3 of the Organic Law of Elections.

Article 40 .- The social media to disseminate information regarding the results of the election
process prior to the issuance of the first newsletter official from the National Electoral Council,
contrary to the provisions of

Article 83 of the Organic Law on Elections and Article 16 of this Regulation, not least out of the
provisions of said Article 83 of the Act; will be fined five thousand tax units (5,000 UT) to seven
thousand tax units (7,000 UT) tax units, in accordance with laid down in Article 232 of the Act.




Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                       Page 12
Electoral Fairness Audit Results for Media and Broadcasters:

Score:

The FDA electoral fairness audit team reached consensus on a score of 9/10.

Rational for Score:

7 days prior to election day, the media must stop the dissemination of polling results.
No use of flags and colors of flags, national symbols and historical leaders etc., part of electoral
propaganda.

Emphasis on fairness of political content.

No phone call intrusions of the public during an election period.

No intrusion of the public outside of electoral period.

No mention of quantity of political content.

TV and radio networks have to be non-partisan.

Media must give a complete, balanced electoral coverage.

Detailed process for the enforcement of regulations on political content and election propaganda.

The score of 90 percent would have been higher if there were more specifics as to how the
National Electoral Council monitors media and broadcasters in regard to political content and
election propaganda. The high score reflects the emphasis on the impartiality of the media and
broadcasters, which is essential to establishing political equality and electoral fairness.




Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                        Page 13
Chapter Two: Candidates’ and Parties’ Influence
Chapter two will focus on the research and audit results of Venezuelan laws and regulations with
respect to the equality of candidates and parties’ influence before, during and after elections.

Executive Summary:

Venezuela received an exceptional score of 90 percent for equality of candidate and party
influence. Venezuela has a range of laws and regulations which protect voters from undue
political influence, and thereby allow voters the opportunity to make their own electoral choices.
Also, public and private media and broadcasters are required to be impartial. The National
Electoral Council has the power legally and financially to ensure a fair diffusion of electoral
propaganda, in order to offset private electoral spending. Further, party registration is based on .5
percent of popular support, and therefore is a democratic barrier to entry. There are no
unreasonable restrictions on public marches, meetings, and rallies. Overall, there is a near equal
playing field for candidates and parties to compete for political representation of the people.

Research Excerpts:

The following excerpts were identified by the FDA researchers as relevant. The FDA researchers
made some excerpts bold to emphasize high relevance:

Article 75. Do not be permitted electoral propaganda:
1. Outside the electoral campaign period established by the National Electoral Council.
2. Attack the honor, privacy, intimacy, self-image, confidence and reputation of individuals.
3. Promote war, discrimination or intolerance.
4. Promote disobedience to the law.
5. Data allowing identification of the sponsor or promoter of electoral propaganda and the Fiscal
Information Registry (RIF).
6. The hired or performed by natural or legal persons other than authorized by the candidates and
candidates.
7. Discourage the right to vote.
8. Make degrading obscenities against the bodies and entities of public power, institutions and
public officials or public servants.
9. Use the image, sound or the presence of children or adolescents.
10. Use national or regional symbols of the nation or the image of the Founding Fathers of the
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, or the colors of the national flag or regional.
11. Use the image, name or names of any citizen, as well as colors and symbols that identify an
organization with political purposes, groups of citizens or citizens without their consent.
12. Violate the rules laid down in legislation on animal protection.
13. The publicly funded other than as provided in these rules.
14. Is funded from abroad.
15. Is privately funded not declared to the National Electoral Council and the National Integrated
Customs and Tax Administration (SENIAT).



Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                       Page 14
16. Actions against the mental health of citizens.
17. Promote stereotypes of gender discrimination or otherwise

Article 79. The media, public or private and independent producers can not make on their own
any type of propaganda aimed at supporting a candidate or a candidate, or to encourage or
discourage voting or vote constituencies for or against any of the nominations.

Article 80. The media may not refuse to broadcast election propaganda. In case of doubt or
dispute, interested or concerned may request the National Electoral Council to determine
whether the electoral propaganda meets the requirements of these rules, and its decision shall be
compulsory.

Prohibition of publication of opinion polls

Article 82. It is prohibited to publish or disclose, through any social media or other media, during
the period of seven days prior to voting, the results of opinion polls or surveys that aim to present
preferences or voting intentions of electors or voters. It prohibits the publication of surveys that
do not have sheet.

Article 10. The regional parties will be formed by registration in the registry that purpose by the
Supreme Electoral Council.

1. Registration applications must be accompanied by the following documents: List of party
members no fewer than 0.5percent of the population registered on the electoral register of the
respective entity. [Venezuelan population as 2011 27,635,743 almost 140,000 members]

The list will specify their names, age, address and identity card
2. 2. Manifestation of the will of party members belonging to it.
3. 3. Three copies of its statement of principles of its Charter, its political action program and its
statutes.

One of these copies are filed in the Supreme Electoral Council file another will be sent to
Ministry of Interior and the third will be submitted to the Government concerned.
4. 4. Description and drawing of the symbols and emblems of the party
5. 5. Indication of the supreme bodies of the party leaders, who charge it up and play within them

Reform of Presidential Term Limits

Article 230 of the 1999 Constitution establishes that the presidential term limit will be of six
years and that any president can be re-elected once. Under the proposed reform, the presidential
term would be extended to seven years and any sitting president would be allowed to seek
another consecutive term.

Propaganda election is all advertising elements and parts, disseminated and displayed by all
means at its disposal that election messages express the organizations and their candidates and
candidates for popular election, during the course of a presidential campaign.

Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                         Page 15
Electoral Notification to the National Electoral Council
Organic Law of Electoral Processes

Article 71. The term campaign of public activities carried out by candidates, political
organizations and groups of electors whose purpose recruit, encourage or persuade voters to vote
for a candidate or a candidate within the period designated by the National Electoral Council.

Principles and Rights

Article 72. The interpretation and application of these standards will be subject to the principles
and rights:
1. Participants in the electoral process.
2. Liberty of thought and expression.
3. Communication and information free, diverse, pluralistic, accurate and timely.
4. Prohibition of censorship without prejudice to any further generated.
5. Democratization, participation and full exercise of popular sovereignty.
6. Respect for the honor, privacy, intimacy, self-image, confidence and reputation of individuals.
7. Social responsibility and solidarity.
8. Respect of different ideas and the promotion of tolerance, transparency, peaceful coexistence,
political pluralism, democracy and the observance of human rights.
9. Respect of the Venezuelan state institutions.
10. Equal access to social media.

Chapter II

Election Propaganda

Propaganda election is all advertising elements and parts, disseminated and displayed by all
means at its disposal that election messages express the organizations and their candidates and
candidates for popular election, during the course of a presidential campaign.

Electoral Notification to the National Electoral Council

Article 74. Representatives of candidates and candidates must report in writing to the National
Electoral Council, within five days following the call, the identification data of the natural or
legal persons authorized by them to employ propaganda.

The identification data must include full names, identity card or Tax Information Registry (RIF),
the capacity in which they operate and address or address for the purpose of any notification.
The list of authorized persons is published by the National Electoral Council.
Propaganda Electioneering is not allowed

Article 75. Do not be permitted electoral propaganda:
1. Outside the electoral campaign period established by the National Electoral Council.
2. Attack the honor, privacy, intimacy, self-image, confidence and reputation of individuals.
3. Promote war, discrimination or intolerance.

Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                      Page 16
4. Promote disobedience to the law.
5. Data allowing identification of the sponsor or promoter of electoral propaganda and the Fiscal
Information Registry (RIF).
6. The hired or performed by natural or legal persons other than authorized by the candidates and
candidates.
7. Discourage the right to vote.
8. Make degrading obscenities against the bodies and entities of public power, institutions and
public officials or public servants.
9. Use the image, sound or the presence of children or adolescents.
10.Use national or regional symbols of the nation or the image of the Founding Fathers of the
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, or the colors of the national flag or regional.
11.Use the image, name or names of any citizen, as well as colors and symbols that identify an
organization with political purposes, groups of citizens or citizens without their consent.
12. Violate the rules laid down in legislation on animal protection.
13. The publicly funded other than as provided in these rules.
14. Is funded from abroad.
15. Is privately funded not declared to the National Electoral Council and the National Integrated
Customs and Tax Administration (SENIAT).
16. Actions against the mental health of citizens.
17. Promote stereotypes of gender discrimination or otherwise

Article 76. Is prohibited outdoor advertising, drawings, advertisements or other means of
election propaganda:
1. The buildings where power organs and public bodies.
2. The churches, clinics, hospitals and homes.
3. The public monuments and trees.
4. The public places where they prevent or impede the free movement of people and
vehicles.
5. The public places for children's activities.
6. The preschools, primary and secondary.
7. The public goods and the goods to services.
8. Parties homes or private buildings without the express consent of its owner or owners or
occupiers, who may remove the advertising or electioneering to be placed without his
consent.

Prohibition of destruction of propaganda

Article 77. Is hereby prohibited during the campaign period, removal or destruction of all or part
of any electoral propaganda, except as set for this purpose the National Electoral Council in
accordance with the provisions of this Act, without prejudice to any action to reserve the
National Electoral Council to comply.




Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                     Page 17
Chapter V: Political Advertising

Article 30. The political associations have the right to advertise by any means of
dissemination of ideas, oral or written, with the limitations established by the evidence and
the law.

Article 31. The political propaganda through loudspeakers mounted on vehicles or carried
by any other means, may be made prior participation in the civil authority for the purposes
of inviting the public to public meetings or demonstrations.
Excepted from the provisions of the Electoral Act during the elections.

Article 32. The fixing of posters, drawings and other propaganda materials may be in buildings
or houses, with the consent of the occupants. Not be allowed in public buildings or monuments,
not temples.

Prohibiting the use of patriotic symbols and portraits or pictures of the heroes of our
independence in party propaganda.

Article 33. The violators of the provisions contained in the two preceding articles shall be
punished by arrest for a fortnight without prejudice to any action that such acts could lead.

Article 34. Do not allow anonymous political publications or those which violate human dignity
or offend public morals or which are intended to promote the disobedience of the laws, without
which this can restrict the analysis or criticism legal precepts.

Any publication of a political nature must take the corresponding imprint.

Police authorities must contain all propaganda and publications made in contravention of this
section, subject to the liabilities they may incur actors.

Article 35. The publications, radio stations, television and other off

Chapter II: From the Constitution of the Parties

Article 8. Citizen groups desiring to form a political party shall engage the civil authority of the
district or department with details of local offices to be established, whose fronts and visible to
the public, posted notice or nameplates provisional name of acting.

Premises will be closed associations or political groups to operate without complying with the
requirements prescribed in the first part of this article. Citizens' associations which run
candidates in the electoral process, in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, may
be local or office and organize as political parties, during the electoral process, after fulfilling the
requirements of this article.

Article 9. The political parties may be national or regional


Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                          Page 18
Article 10. The regional parties will be formed by registration in the registry that purpose by the
Supreme Electoral Council.

1. Registration applications must be accompanied by the following documents: List of
party members no fewer than 0.5% of the population registered on the electoral register of
the respective entity.

The list will specify their names, age, address and identity card
2. 2. Manifestation of the will of party members belonging to it.
3. 3. Three copies of its statement of principles of its Charter, its political action program and its
statutes.

One of these copies are filed in the Supreme Electoral Council file another will be sent to
Ministry of Interior and the third will be submitted to the Government concerned.
4. 4. Description and drawing of the symbols and emblems of the party
5. 5. Indication of the supreme bodies of the party leaders, who charge it up and play within them
1: The members of the party to appear on the payroll referred to the ordinal 1 of this Article shall
be domiciled in the respective Entity

Paragraph 2: The leaders of the party authorized by signing the above actions, in accordance with
its Statute.

Paragraph 3: The application form may be transmitted by the interested parties directly to the
Supreme Electoral Council or through the Government of the respective entity.

ARTICLE 14 .- The media will give a public and private and balanced coverage of the
information related and without distorting the reality of the campaign. To this end, observe a
strict balance in time and space dedicated to information relating to activities undertaken by the
candidate or candidates.

TITLE V
ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE FOR INQUIRIES
PROPAGANDA ELECTORAL ADVERTISING
ARTICLE 20 .-

The National Electoral Council may order the start of administrative investigation procedure, a
complaint.

The administrative investigation procedure automatically be incurred by decision National
Electoral Council.

Article 21 .- The complaints were filed in writing, before the Committee
Political Participation and Financing or to the Regional Electoral Offices
The complaints they receive the Regional Electoral Offices
be incorporated into the Automated Control System in the opportunity
receipt and subsequently sent to the Commission's original Participation

Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                         Page 19
Policy and Financing the business day following receipt

Article 22 .- The written complaint must contain:
1. The identification of the complainant or, where appropriate, the person acting as its
representative and the document evidencing the alleged representation;
2. The narrative summary of the facts or acts constituting the alleged violation;
3. The identification, if possible, the person allegedly responsible;
4. The identification of social media that broadcast and other modes billboards, posters,
pamphlets, posters, stickers, etc.;
5. Location verified facts or acts complained of;
6. Copies of the supports or attachments such as videos, photographs, tapes and others;
7. Signature of the complainant or the person acting as legal representative or and address where
notifications will be practiced.

Not be dealt with complaints that do not meet the requirements set out above

Organic Law of the Electoral Power Chapter VI, Ord. 64, Art. 66:

ARTICLE 66: The Commission on Political Participation and Financing has the following
functions:
 1. To organize the registration and registration of political organizations, groups and voter,
associations of citizens and citizens, and monitor for them to perform their constitutional and
legal provisions governing their status of democratization, organization and management.
 2. Create mechanisms to facilitate the participation of citizens in the electoral process and other
popular referendums.
 3. Monitor compliance with constitutional and legal provisions in relation to the funds and the
financing of electoral campaigns of political organizations, constituent groups, associations of
citizens or citizens, and the candidate or candidates on their own initiative.
 4. Investigate the origin and destination of economic resources used in election campaigns of
political organizations, group of voters, citizens or citizens' associations and the candidates or
candidates nominated or nominated by their own initiative, in accordance with the provisions of
law.
 5. Request the National Electoral Council beginning of investigations of alleged administrative
irregularities committed in the elections, referendum and other consultations, where they are
elements that might be considered crimes or misdemeanors.
 6. Order the withdrawal of all advertisements for direct or indirect election, deemed a violation
of the law.
 7. Arrange with the National Electoral Council the credentials of the observer or national or
international observers in electoral processes, referendums and other popular national, in
accordance with the provisions of the law.
 8. Process before the National Electoral Council, or the credentials of the witnesses of the
organizations whose record will compete in the elections, referendums and other popular
consultations in accordance with the provisions in the Act
 9. Supervise permanent training centers, education and election information.
 10. The other functions stipulated by law and regulation


Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                       Page 20
Electoral Fairness Audit Results for Equality of Candidates and Parties:

Score:

The FDA electoral fairness audit team reached consensus on a score of 9/10.

Rational for Score:

National debates are open to all registered parties and their leaders, as part of the impartiality of
media, and fair, complete and balanced electoral coverage.

Sound restrictions on the disbursement of election propaganda to the public, which protects the
privacy and interests of the public, without inhibiting their ability to be informed electorally.
Political content in media must be non-partisan—complete and balanced.

Party registration based on popular support and not money--.5% of corresponding voting
population. Venezuela has two dominant national parties and 5 or more small national parties. (In
the FDA’s opinion,.5% percent as a barrier to entry to receive party registration is democratic, in
the sense it focuses on popular support rather than money. Also, the barrier of entry is necessary
because of the electoral privileges from being registered including fair media access and
exposure.)

The media cannot refuse election propaganda from a registered party.

Venezuelan laws and regulations create an equal playing field for political candidates and parties:
every party has same access to the media, the media itself has to be non-partisan, foundations
and corporations cannot donate to parties, and opinion polls must be stopped 7 days prior to the
Election Day. In addition, the National Electoral Council has the power to intervene to ensure a
complete and balanced electoral coverage: “The National Electoral Council may finance in part
or in full, the diffusion of electoral propaganda in the media of radio, television or printed, in
accordance with regulations established for that purpose.” However, the regulations guiding the
National Electoral Council’s intervention for fair diffusion of electoral propaganda are not
present in any of the documents the FDA looked at. Nor are the regulations present in the list of
legal and regulatory documents on the National Electoral Council’s website.

The score of 90 percent would have been higher, if there were specifics on the regulations of the
National Electoral Council’s intervention to ensure fair diffusion of electoral propaganda.




Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                        Page 21
Chapter Three: Electoral Finance
Chapter three will focus on the research and audit results of Venezuelan laws and regulations
with respect to the equality of Venezuelan laws and regulations with respect to electoral finance.

Executive Summary:

Venezuela received a very satisfactory score of 80 percent for electoral finance. There are few
limits on electoral spending, although the National Electoral Council can intervene to ensure a
fair diffusion of electoral propaganda. Also, legal entities are disallowed from donating directly
to political parties, and public political subsidies are disallowed as well. The score would have
been higher if there were more specifics on the intervention of the National Electoral Council.

Research Excerpts:

The following excerpts were identified by the FDA researchers as relevant. The FDA researchers
made some excerpts bold to emphasize high relevance:

Matters relating to the financing of and private contributions to associations for political
purposes shall be regulated by law, as shall the oversight mechanisms to guarantee propriety as
to the sources and handling of such funds.

Law shall regulate as well, political and election campaigns, the duration thereof and spending
limits with a view pursuing its democratization.

Article 75. Do not permit electoral propaganda:
13. The publicly funded other than as provided in these rules.
14. Is funded from abroad.
15. Is privately funded not declared to the National Electoral Council and the National Integrated
Customs and Tax Administration (SENIAT).

Only individuals may donate to political parties.

Chapter III

Social Electoral Propaganda in Social Media

Financing

The National Electoral Council may finance part or in full, the diffusion of electoral
propaganda in the media of radio, television or printed, in accordance with regulations
established for that purpose. [The National Electoral Council is legally obligated to ensure
a complete and balanced coverage in diffusion of electoral propaganda.]




Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                     Page 22
Coverage

Article 81. The mass media and private information will be given a complete and balanced
coverage of related information and without distorting the reality of the campaign. To this
end, observe a strict balance in time and space dedicated to information relating to
activities carried out by the candidate or candidates.

Venezuela National Constitution:

Chapter V: Electoral Power

Article 292: Electoral Power is exercised by the National Electoral Council as governing body,
and by the latter's subordinate organs, the National Board of Elections, the Civil Status and Voter
Registration Commission and the Commission on Political Participation and Financing, with
organization and functioning as established under the pertinent organic law.
(9) To control, regulate and investigate the funds raised to finance organizations for political
purposes.

Organic Law of the Electoral Power Chapter VI, Ord. 64, Art. 66:

ARTICLE 66: The Commission on Political Participation and Financing has the following
functions:
   1. 1. To organize the registration and registration of political organizations, groups and
       voter, associations of citizens and citizens, and monitor for them to perform their
       constitutional and legal provisions governing their status of democratization, organization
       and management.
        2. Create mechanisms to facilitate the participation of citizens in the electoral process
       and other popular referendums.
        3. Monitor compliance with constitutional and legal provisions in relation to the funds
       and the financing of electoral campaigns of political organizations, constituent groups,
       associations of citizens or citizens, and the candidate or candidates on their own
       initiative.
        4. Investigate the origin and destination of economic resources used in election
       campaigns of political organizations, group of voters, citizens or citizens' associations
       and the candidates or candidates nominated or nominated by their own initiative, in
       accordance with the provisions of law.
        5. Request the National Electoral Council beginning of investigations of alleged
       administrative irregularities committed in the elections, referendum and other
       consultations, where they are elements that might be considered crimes or misdemeanors.
        6. Order the withdrawal of all advertisements for direct or indirect election, deemed a
       violation of the law.
        7. Arrange with the National Electoral Council the credentials of the observer or
       national or international observers in electoral processes, referendums and other popular
       national, in accordance with the provisions of the law.
        8. Process before the National Electoral Council, or the credentials of the witnesses of
       the organizations whose record will compete in the elections, referendums and other

Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                     Page 23
popular consultations in accordance with the provisions in the Act
         9. Supervise permanent training centers, education and election information.
         10. The other functions stipulated by law and regulation.

Electoral Fairness Audit Results for Venezuelan Election Finance:

Score:

The FDA electoral fairness audit team reached consensus on a score of 8/10.

Rational for Score:

With no electoral spending limit on citizens, including campaign donations and third-party
advertising, the wealthy citizens have an advantage in influencing the outcome of elections.
However, the National Election Council has the power to ensure a complete and balanced
coverage of election propaganda.

Corporations and unions are disallowed from making donations to political parties, which helps
lessen the impact of no spending limit on citizens.

No public financing of candidates or parties, which helps prevent electoral unfairness like in
Egypt (under Mubarak) and Cameroon, where the governments through the use of public funds
favor parties aligned with the state.

In addition to voting, citizens have an opportunity to express themselves further through electoral
spending. Freedom of expression versus electoral unfairness. The freedom of expression of
Venezuelan citizens coupled with restrictions on corporations and unions overcomes any
resulting electoral unfairness, but only to a level of more electoral fairness than electoral
unfairness. Further, the intervention of National Electoral Council offsets electoral unfairness
from unequal electoral spending, and a resulting imbalance and incomplete coverage of election
propaganda.

With more specifics to the Venezuelan electoral finance laws on the National Electoral Council’s
“diffusion of electoral propaganda”, the score of 80 percent would have been higher.




Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                     Page 24
Chapter Four: Voter Say
Chapter four will focus on the research and audit results of Venezuelan laws and regulations
with respect to the equality of voter say laws and regulations before, during and after an
election.

Executive Summary:

Venezuela received a very satisfactory score of 80 percent for equality of voter say. Venezuela
has specific and detailed laws protecting its citizens from the political elements of society. There
are no unreasonable restrictions on the freedom of expression of voters, including no limits on
citizen donations to parties. Also, corporations and unions are disallowed from donating directly
to parties, which helps prevent unbalanced electoral influence. The score would have been higher
if there were more specifics on the intervention of the National Election Council to ensure a fair
diffusion of election propaganda.

Research Excerpts:

The following excerpts were identified by the FDA researchers as relevant. The FDA researchers
made some excerpts bold to emphasize high relevance:

Article 57: Everyone has the right to express freely his or her thoughts, ideas or opinions
orally, in writing or by any other form of expression, and to use for such purpose any
means of communication and diffusion, and no censorship shall be established. Anyone
making use of this right assumes full responsibility for everything expressed. Anonymity,
war propaganda, discriminatory messages or those promoting religious intolerance are not
permitted.

Article 65: Persons who have been convicted* of crimes committed while holding office or other
offenses against public property, shall be ineligible to run for any office filled by popular vote,
for such period as may be prescribed by law after serving their sentences, depending on the
seriousness of the offense.

Article 125: Native peoples have the right to participate in politics. The State shall
guarantee native representation in the National Assembly and the deliberating organs of
federal and local entities with a native population, in accordance with law.

Article 72. The interpretation and application of these standards will be subject to the principles
and rights:
1. Participants in the electoral process.
2. Liberty of thought and expression.
3. Communication and information free, diverse, pluralistic, accurate and timely.
4. Prohibition of censorship without prejudice to any further generated.
5. Democratization, participation and full exercise of popular sovereignty.
6. Respect for the honor, privacy, intimacy, self-image, confidence and reputation of individuals.


Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                      Page 25
7. Social responsibility and solidarity.
8. Respect of different ideas and the promotion of tolerance, transparency, peaceful coexistence,
political pluralism, democracy and the observance of human rights.
9. Respect of the Venezuelan state institutions.
10. Equal access to social media.

Venezuelan Constitution:

Article 2: Venezuela constitutes itself as a Democratic and Social State of Law and Justice,
which holds as superior values of its legal order and actions those of life, liberty, justice,
equality, solidarity, democracy, social responsibility and, in general, the preeminence of
human rights, ethics and political pluralism.

Article 3: The essential purposes of the State are the protection and development of the
individual and respect for the dignity of the individual, the democratic exercise of the will
of the people, the building of a just and peace-loving society, the furtherance of the
prosperity and welfare of the people and the guaranteeing of the Fulfillment of the
principles, rights and duties established in this Constitution. Education and work are the
fundamental processes for guaranteeing these purposes.

Article 57: Everyone has the right to express freely his or her thoughts, ideas or opinions orally,
in writing or by any other form of expression, and to use for such purpose any means of
communication and diffusion, and no censorship shall be established. Anyone making use of this
right assumes full responsibility for everything expressed. Anonymity, war propaganda,
discriminatory messages or those promoting religious intolerance are not permitted.

*** Article 67: All citizens have the right of association for political purposes, through
democratic methods of organization, operation and direction. Their governing organs and
candidates for offices filled by popular vote, shall be selected by internal elections with
participation of their members. No financing of associations for political purposes with State
funds shall be permitted.

Matters relating to the financing of and private contributions to associations for political
purposes shall be regulated by law, as shall the oversight mechanisms to guarantee propriety as
to the sources and handling of such funds. Law shall regulate as well, political and election
campaigns, the duration thereof and spending limits with a view pursuing its democratization.
Citizens*, on their own initiative, and associations for political purposes, shall be entitled to
participate in the electoral process, putting forward candidates*. The financing of political
advertising and election campaigns shall be regulated by law. The authorities of associations for
political purposes shall not enter into contracts with organs in the public sector.

Article 65: Persons who have been convicted* of crimes committed while holding office or other
offenses against public property, shall be ineligible to run for any office filled by popular vote,
for such period as may be prescribed by law after serving their sentences, depending on the
seriousness of the offense.


Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                      Page 26
*** Article 70: Participation and involvement of people in the exercise of their sovereignty in
political affairs can be manifested by: voting to fill public offices, referendum, consultation of
public opinion, mandate revocation, legislative, constitutional and constituent initiative, open
forums and meetings of citizens whose decisions shall be binding among others; and in social
and economic affairs: citizen service organs, self-management, co-management, cooperatives in
all forms, including those of a financial nature, savings funds, community enterprises, and other
forms of association guided by the values of mutual cooperation and solidarity.

The law shall establish conditions for the effective, functioning of the means of participation
provided for under the present article.

Electoral Fairness Audit Results for Equality of Voter Say:

Score:

The FDA electoral fairness audit team reached consensus on a score of 8/10.

Rational for Score:

Venezuelan natives are guaranteed National Assembly seats and thereby representation in the
Assembly.

Voters have freedom of political expression within reasonable limits of the law.

Venezuelan’s electoral finance laws favor the wealthy, thereby create electoral unfairness. This
inequality reduced the score from 10 to 8. However, the National Electoral Council has the
power to intervene to ensure a fair coverage of electoral propaganda. Nevertheless, some voters
through financial and media access will have an opportunity to have more say than other voters.
It is questionable that the National Electoral Council could fully offset this inequality, which can
take many forms and when the National Electoral Council does not know the views of all voters
with less means for say.

Venezuelan legislation protects society and citizens from unreasonable, disrespectful, aggressive
election campaigning.

Venezuelan citizens are protected from election propaganda outside of election periods. This
legislation protects citizens from badgering, harassment etc. and allows them to form their own
opinions and give them reprieve from the political elements of society.




Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                       Page 27
Chapter Five: Audit Results
Chapter five will set out the FDA’s scores for each of the areas of the Venezuelan electoral
system as set out above.

1. Research and audit results for Venezuelan laws and regulations on the political content of
media including newspapers, broadcasters, online media, before, during, and after elections.

9/10

2. Research and audit results for Venezuelan Laws and regulations on the equality of candidates
and parties influence before, during and after elections.

9/10

3. Research and audit results for Venezuelan laws and regulations on electoral finance.

8/10

4. Research and audit results for laws and regulations on the equality of voter say before, during,
and after an election.

8/10

Total score: 34/40

85 percent




Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                      Page 28
Chapter Six: Analysis
Chapter six will provide a brief analysis of the FDA’s findings.

Venezuela’s 85 percent overall score for electoral fairness means that the Venezuelan federal
electoral system, in terms of laws and regulations, is exceptionally more fair than unfair. From
the FDA electoral fairness grade scale, an A+ grade refers to outstanding electoral laws and
regulations for the country (overall flawless and original laws and regulations on the equality of
political news coverage on mainstream media (including broadcasters and newspapers), equality
of campaign finances, equality of candidate and party influence, and equality voter influence.
(An A+ grade equates to greater than 84.99% and less than 100.1%))

Venezuela scored 90 percent in two of the FDA’s four categories for electoral fairness, and 80
percent in the other categories.

To put Venezuela’s electoral fairness score in context, the United States received a failing overall
score of 30 percent and Egypt (under Mubarak) received a failing overall score of 0 percent.

The 15 percent short of 100 percent for electoral fairness means that there are areas in
Venezuela’s laws and regulations which can be improved.

In the equality of political content in the media section, Venezuela’s score would have been 95
percent to 100 percent if there were more specifics on how the National Electoral Council
monitors the political content of media and broadcasters in order to enforce the standard of
impartiality.

In the equality of candidate and party influence section, Venezuela’s score would have been 95
percent to 100 percent if there were specifics on the regulations of the National Electoral
Council’s intervention, financially, to ensure a fair diffusion of electoral propaganda.

In the electoral finance section, Venezuela’s score would have been 90 percent to 100 percent if
there were specifics on the regulations of the National Electoral Council’s intervention,
financially, to ensure a fair diffusion of electoral propaganda.

In the equality of voter say section, Venezuela’s score would have been 90 percent to 100
percent, if there were more specifics as to how the National Electoral Council can overcome the
inequality of voter say through unlimited electoral spending (which favors wealthy voters) and
unequal media access.

Venezuela’s legal and constitutional emphasis on fair political content and the rights of citizens
extends, consistently, through its electoral laws.




Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                      Page 29
Chapter Seven: Conclusion
Chapter seven will provide a summary of the FDA’s findings.

Based on Venezuela’s overall score of 85 percent for electoral fairness, 90 percent score for two
of the audit sections, and 80 percent for the other sections, Venezuela’s electoral laws and
regulations are exceptionally fair, and thereby highly democratic.

The source of Venezuela’s electoral fairness starts with the Venezuelan Constitution which
emphasizes the rights of citizens, and a cooperative, pluralistic, and respectful society.

Moreover, in Venezuela, unlike in the United States and Canada for examples, there is a clear
separation between the Venezuelan government and private media and broadcasters. This
separation, in the opinion of the FDA, creates the impetus to ensure fair, equitable political
content in the media and on broadcasters during elections. Whereas, the lack of separation
between government and media in the USA and Canada creates an undemocratic relationship
between government and public and private media and broadcasters, and a corresponding choke
on democracy through the domination of government (i.e. dominant parties) and the major media
and broadcasters. The American and Canadian electoral systems put no restrictions on the
political content of the private media and broadcasters, and in their Constitutions and electoral
laws, there is no mention of electoral fairness and political equality.

As long as Venezuela’s election laws are enforced, the potential issue from the union of
government and public and private media and broadcasters can be avoided.

To maintain Venezuela’s exceptional standard of democracy in its electoral laws, it is imperative
that there continues to be a separation between government and private media and broadcasters.




Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                      Page 30
Chapter Eight: Recommendations
Chapter eight will set out the FDA’s recommendations on how Venezuela can improve its
electoral fairness score and thereby its electoral fairness.

   1) Venezuela’s electoral laws need to be more specific regarding the role the National
      Electoral Council in monitoring the impartiality of the media and broadcasters. Also,
      Venezuelan electoral laws need to be more specific regarding the role of the National
      Electoral Council in ensuring a fair diffusion of electoral propaganda through financial
      intervention.

   2) Venezuela needs to identify a way to ensure the separation of government and private
      media and broadcasters. One way is to enshrine the concepts of political equality,
      electoral fairness, and fairness of political content in the Venezuelan Constitution. The
      current statement from Article 67 of the Constitution, “the financing of political
      advertising and election campaigns shall be regulated by law” needs to be more direct and
      specific.

   3) The Venezuelan government through laws and their enforcement must ensure that state
      TV and Radio conforms to the same impartial standards of private media and
      broadcasters. To allow a partisan state TV and Radio will create significant electoral
      unfairness, just as a partisan private media and broadcasters would do as well. Although
      the FDA acknowledges that a partisan state media and broadcasters can offset partisan
      private media and broadcasters and vise versa.

The FDA believes that electoral fairness is at the heart of pure democracy. The more fair
electorally a country is, the more democratic the country will be.

Therefore, the FDA believes that by improving electoral fairness, pure democracy in Venezuela
will be advanced which in turn will improve the status of Venezuelans as a whole.




Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                   Page 31
References:
The following information was consulted and utilized in this audit report:

First Amendment to the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Constitution of the Bolivian Republic of Venezuela

Venezuelan Organic Law of the Electoral Procedure

Venezuelan Organic Law of the Civil Registry

Venezuelan Organic Law of the Municipal Power

Venezuelan Law for Political Parties, Public Meetings and Demonstrations

Venezuelan Regulation No. 5 of the Organic Law Electoral Process Field of Control of
Campaign Finance

Venezuelan Regulation No. 6 of the Organic Law Electoral Process Field of Propaganda During
the Electoral Campaign

Venezuelan Embassy in Canada (FDA received information from the Venezuelan Embassy on
specific electoral legislation.)




Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                  Page 32
Appendix:
FDA Global Audit Results as of September 9, 2011:




Foundation for Democratic Advancement               Page 33
FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Results


                              Overall Electoral Fairness Audit Scores
                                   <-- failing range|passing range -->


                   0%      20%            40%             60%             80%            100%

         France
     Venezuela
         Bolivia
        Norway
  New Zealand
        Finland
       Lebanon
            Iraq
       Denmark
          Russia
        Sweden
      Argentina
  United States
         Canada
    Azerbaijan
         Mexico
         Tunisia
     Cameroon
         Yemen
        Bahrain
           Egypt
            Iran
           Libya
   Saudi Arabia
           Syria

                                                    ©2011 Foundation for Democratic Advancement




Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                   Page 34
FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Results

                        Laws and regulations on the equality of political content of the media and
                                   broadcasters before, during, and after an election
                                           <-- failing range | passing range -->
                   0%              20%             40%            60%             80%                100%

          Russia
     Venezuela
        France
         Bolivia
        Norway
       Lebanon
            Iraq
    Azerbaijan
       Denmark
        Finland
        Sweden
  United States
         Canada
      Argentina
         Tunisia
  New Zealand
         Yemen
        Bahrain
     Cameroon
          Egypt
            Iran
          Libya
         Mexico
   Saudi Arabia
          Syria

                                                             ©2011 Foundation for Democratic Advancement




Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                            Page 35
FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Results

                    Laws and regulations on the equality of candidate and political party influence
                                         before, during, and after an election
                                          <-- failing range | passing range -->
                   0%            20%             40%             60%             80%            100%

         France
     Venezuela
  New Zealand
        Bolivia
        Norway
        Finland
       Lebanon
        Sweden
  United States
            Iraq
    Azerbaijan
      Argentina
       Denmark
          Russia
         Canada
         Mexico
        Bahrian
     Cameroon
           Egypt
            Iran
           Libya
   Saudi Arabia
           Syria
         Tunisia
         Yemen

                                                           ©2011 Foundation for Democratic Advancement




Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                          Page 36
FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Results

                        Laws and regulations on the equality of electoral (campaign) finance
                                         <-- failing range | passing range -->
                   0%           20%             40%            60%              80%             100%

         France
     Venezuela
        Bolivia
  New Zealand
        Finland
        Norway
      Argentina
       Denmark
       Lebanon
        Sweden
         Tunisia
    Azerbaijan
     Cameroon
         Canada
         Mexico
  United States
        Bahrain
           Egypt
            Iran
            Iraq
           Libya
          Russia
   Saudi Arabia
           Syria
         Yemen

                                                          ©2011 Foundation for Democratic Advancement




Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                          Page 37
FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Results

                        Laws and regulations on the equality of voter influence before, during, and
                                                      after an election
                                            <-- failing range | passing range -->
                   0%              20%             40%             60%             80%            100%

         France
         Bolivia
     Venezuela
      Argentina
            Iraq
         Mexico
         Canada
       Denmark
        Finland
  New Zealand
  United States
        Sweden
       Lebanon
        Norway
          Russia
    Azerbaijan
        Bahrain
     Cameroon
           Egypt
            Iran
           Libya
   Saudi Arabia
           Syria
         Tunisia
         Yemen

                                                             ©2011 Foundation for Democratic Advancement




Foundation for Democratic Advancement                                                            Page 38

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Tendances (20)

United States--2012 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Report (Revised April...
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France--2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Report
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Azerbaijan--2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Report
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Democratic Republic of Congo--2011 FDA Global Electoral Audit Report
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Iran--2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Report
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FDA Public Forum on Alberta Democracy Reform
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Libya--2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Report
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Lebanon--2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Report
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2013--Revised 2012 FDA Canadian Provinces Electoral Finance Report
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Venezuela--2011 FDA Gobal Electoral Fairness Audit Report

  • 1. 2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit of Venezuela's Federal Electoral System Executive Summary: Venezuela received an exceptional overall score of 85 percent for electoral fairness. This score means that Venezuela's constitutional and legislative basis for democracy is exceptional, innovative, and progressive. The source of Venezuela's highly democratic basis is its Constitution which puts significant emphasis on individual rights and societal plurality, cooperation, and respect. These core values extend consistently through Venezuela's electoral laws. Further, as a source of innovation and fairness, the Venezuelan National Electoral Council has the power legally and financially to ensure a fair diffusion of electoral propaganda, and thereby prevent wealthy citizens, legal entities, candidates, and parties from dominating electoral discourse. Electoral Fairness Audit Completed May 27, 2011. Updated July 7, 2011. Updated October 2, 2011.
  • 2. About the Foundation for Democratic Advancement: The Foundation for Democratic Advancement ("FDA")'s mission is to advance fair and transparent democratic processes wherever elections occur. The FDA believes that fairer electoral systems and a more informed public will help ensure the election of candidates who truly represent the will of the people. The FDA fulfills its mission by performing detailed electoral audits on political candidates and parties to inform the public, objectively and impartially, about their electoral choices. Also, the FDA audits electoral legislation in terms of fairness and equity, and conducts ground level assessments of democratic processes. (For more information on the FDA visit: www.democracychange.com) Purpose of Electoral Fairness Audit: The purpose of the FDA’s electoral fairness audit (the “Audit”) is to determine a grade and ranking for electoral fairness in Venezuela at the parliamentary level of government. This Audit is part of the FDA’s global audit of electoral fairness involving all countries which hold political elections. The FDA's goal is to give the citizens of Venezuela an informed, objective perspective of the fairness of the Venezuelan federal electoral system. The views in this electoral fairness audit are the views of the FDA only. The FDA’s members and volunteers are in no way affiliated with the Venezuelan National Electoral Council or any of the Venezuelan registered/non-registered political parties. The Audit is an independent assessment based on objectivity, transparency and non-partisanship. The FDA assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors in the calculation of its audit results or inaccuracies in its research of relevant Venezuelan legislation. Methodology for the Electoral Fairness Audit: The FDA uses the methodology of more reasonableness which was created by FDA founder and executive director, Stephen Garvey. The methodology focuses on facts themselves for fairness and unfairness, and their comparative numerical value. To determine the correct numerical value for facts, FDA auditors are guided by matrices which show the numerical value of established facts, and FDA scoring scales for fairness and unfairness. The FDA focuses on four key areas of electoral fairness: 1) Laws and regulations on the political content of media including newspapers, broadcasters and online media before, during, and after elections; 2) Laws and regulations on the candidates’ and parties’ influence before, during and after elections, such as national televised debates, restrictions on candidate nominations, party registration requirements, etc.; 3) Laws and regulations on electoral finance, such as party and campaign donation limits, third party spending limits etc.; and Foundation for Democratic Advancement
  • 3. 4) Laws and regulations on voter say before, during, and after an election. The FDA auditors determine the fairness of Venezuelan laws and regulations for voter say in the media, at the polling booth, through electoral finance and constitutional laws etc. The FDA audits these four areas of electoral fairness because, in our opinion, they are often ignored or overlooked by the international community in determining electoral fairness. Moreover, these four areas cover broad aspects of the electoral process in which fairness could be compromised significantly. The FDA acknowledges that electoral laws and regulations may not necessarily correspond to the implementation of those laws and regulations or the public’s response to them. The implementation and response could be positive or negative, in terms of electoral fairness. Nevertheless, laws and regulations provide the foundation for democracy, framework for the electoral system, and an indication of electoral fairness. Also, a country's constitutional and electoral laws are part of the reality of its democracy. A further study which tracks the actions of mainstream media and the enforcement or non-enforcement of electoral laws and regulation, for example, would provide a more reliable overall determination of electoral fairness. The FDA researched current Venezuelan legislation, in relation to the four areas of electoral fairness being audited. Following which, the FDA audited the research results via the FDA electoral audit team and established FDA matrices and scoring scales. The scores and the reasons for them are recorded. Weighting and Scoring: Overall, the FDA scoring is guided by an inherent valuation of the concepts of soundness and relevancy. Each area of electoral fairness has a score range between 0 and 10, and each area is counted equally. The FDA auditors allow for overlap of electoral fairness areas, due to the interconnectedness of the areas. For example, electoral finance will be factored into the score for voter say and candidate and party influence if it is relevant to these areas. The total averaged score will provide an indication of the electoral fairness in Venezuela. The FDA electoral audit team deliberated on the research on each area of electoral fairness, and then attempted to reach consensus on the scores. When no consensus could be reached, the individual scores of the team were averaged. The final score for each area must be supported by more sound reasons and correspond to the established FDA matrices and scoring scale. FDA Researchers for the Venezuelan federal electoral system: Mr. Stephen Garvey, FDA founder and executive director, bachelors degree in Political Science (University of British Columbia), and masters degree in Environment and Development (University of Cambridge). Mr. Ben Zapata, lawyer, researcher, FDA volunteer, bachelor degree in Law (Free Law School, Mexico City), masters degree in Law (Northwestern University), and Mexican citizen. Foundation for Democratic Advancement
  • 4. FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Team: Chief Electoral Auditor: Mr. Stephen Garvey, FDA founder and executive director, bachelors degree in Political Science (University of British Columbia), and masters degree in Environment and Development (University of Cambridge). Electoral Auditors: Mr. Torben Attrup, FDA researcher and auditor, bachelor degree in History (University of London), and United Kingdom citizen. Mr. Daniel McDermott, FDA technical and marketing executive, researcher, and fourth year Political Science major (University of Calgary). Mr. Aurangzeb Qureshi, FDA public relations specialist and researcher, bachelor degree in Political Science (University of Alberta), and bachelor degree in Journalism (University of King's College). Mrs. Liza Valentine, FDA design consultant, masters degree in Architecture (University of Calgary) and researcher. Observers: Mr. Jeyson Salazar, Colombian citizen. Ms. Jeissy Valencia, Colombian citizen. Editorial Advisory Board: Dr. Arun Gadre, author, MD, project manager, and Indian citizen. © 2011, Foundation for Democratic Advancement All rights reserved. Foundation for Democratic Advancement 728 Northmount Drive NW PO Box 94 Calgary, Alberta Canada, T2K 1P0 info@democracychange.com Foundation for Democratic Advancement
  • 5. Table of Contents: Chapter 1: Political Content of Media 8 Executive Summary 8 Research Excerpts 8 Score 14 Rational 14 Chapter 2 Equality of Political Candidate and Party Influence 15 Executive Summary 15 Research Excerpts 15 Score 22 Rational 22 Chapter 3: Equality of Electoral Finance 23 Executive Summary 23 Research Excepts 23 Score 25 Rational 25 Chapter 4: Equality of Voter Say 26 Executive Summary 26 Research Excerpts 26 Score 27 Rational 27 Chapter 5: Overall Audit Results 28 Chapter 6: Analysis 29
  • 6. Chapter 7: Conclusion 30 Chapter 8: Recommendations 31 References: 32 Appendix: FDA Global Audit Results 33
  • 7. Chapter One: Political Content of Media Chapter one will focus on the research and audit results of Venezuelan laws and regulations with respect to the political content of media, including newspapers, broadcasters and on-line media, before, during and after elections. Executive Summary: Venezuela received an exceptional score of 90 percent for equality of political content. Venezuela has specific and highly democratic laws on the fairness of political content, and complete and balanced electoral coverage. Public and private media and broadcasters are required legally to be impartial. Media impartiality will encourage an equal playing field for political candidates and parties and a broad electoral discourse, and ultimately empower Venezuelan voters by expanding their electoral choice. Research Excerpts: The following excerpts were identified by the FDA researchers as relevant. The FDA researchers made some excerpts bold to emphasize high relevance: Article 80. The media may not refuse to broadcast election propaganda. In case of doubt or dispute, interested or concerned may request the National Electoral Council to determine whether the electoral propaganda the requirements of these rules, and its decision shall be compulsory. Article 81. The mass media and private information will be given a complete and balanced coverage of related information and without distorting the reality of the campaign. To this end, observe a strict balance in time and space dedicated to information relating to activities carried out by the candidate or candidates. Prohibition of publication of opinion polls Article 82. It is prohibited to publish or disclose, through any social media or other media, during the period of seven days prior to voting, the results of opinion polls or surveys that aim to present preferences or voting intentions of electors or voters. It prohibits the publication of surveys that do not have sheet. Article 75. Do not be permitted electoral propaganda: 1. Outside the electoral campaign period established by the National Electoral Council. 2. Attack the honor, privacy, intimacy, self-image, confidence and reputation of individuals. 3. Promote war, discrimination or intolerance. 4. Promote disobedience to the law. 5. Data allowing identification of the sponsor or promoter of electoral propaganda and the Fiscal Information Registry (RIF). 6. The hired or performed by natural or legal persons other than authorized by the candidates and Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 7
  • 8. candidates. 7. Discourage the right to vote. 8. Make degrading obscenities against the bodies and entities of public power, institutions and public officials or public servants. 9. Use the image, sound or the presence of children or adolescents. 10. Use national or regional symbols of the nation or the image of the Founding Fathers of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, or the colors of the national flag or regional. 11. Use the image, name or names of any citizen, as well as colors and symbols that identify an organization with political purposes, groups of citizens or citizens without their consent. 12. Violate the rules laid down in legislation on animal protection. 13. The publicly funded other than as provided in these rules. 14. Is funded from abroad. 15. Is privately funded not declared to the National Electoral Council and the National Integrated Customs and Tax Administration (SENIAT). 16. Actions against the mental health of citizens. 17. Promote stereotypes of gender discrimination or otherwise Chapter III Social Electoral Propaganda in Social Media Financing The National Electoral Council may finance part or in full, the diffusion of electoral propaganda in the media of radio, television or printed, in accordance with regulations established for that purpose. Impartiality of the media Article 79. The media, public or private and independent producers can not make on their own any type of propaganda aimed at supporting a candidate or a candidate, or to encourage or discourage voting or vote constituencies for or against any of the nominations. Obligation to disseminate electoral propaganda Article 80. The media may not refuse to broadcast election propaganda. In case of doubt or dispute, interested or concerned may request the National Electoral Council to determine whether the electoral propaganda meets the requirements of these rules, and its decision shall be compulsory. Coverage Article 81. The mass media and private information will be given a complete and balanced coverage of related information and without distorting the reality of the campaign. To this end, observe a strict balance in time and space dedicated to information relating to activities carried out by the candidate or candidates. Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 8
  • 9. Prohibition of publication of opinion polls Article 82. It is prohibited to publish or disclose, through any social media or other media, during the period of seven days prior to voting, the results of opinion polls or surveys that aim to present preferences or voting intentions of electors or voters. It prohibits the publication of surveys that do not have sheet. Prohibition of dissemination of election results before the first newsletter Article 83. Is prohibited dissemination of election results by any means of social communication before the National Electoral Council issued its first bulletin, which ordered the telecommunications regulator for the immediate termination of the signal to social media violate this article. Free space broadcast Article 84. The National Electoral Council shall have charge of an area of up to five minutes daily in service providers and radio and cable television as well as a daily page in newspapers of national circulation, regional or local level in order to disseminate messages about the electoral process. Chapter IV Propaganda Electoral Administrative Investigations on Electoral Propaganda Start administrative inquiry Article 85. The National Electoral Council may order ex parte or on its own, before a public and notorious fact, the initiation of administrative investigations of violations of electoral propaganda rules. Filing of complaints Article 86. The complaints were filed in writing to the Commission on Political Participation and Financing or to the Regional Electoral Offices concerned. In cases where the complainant or is not domiciled or resident in the Metropolitan Area of Caracas refer the case to the Board of the National Electoral Council which, to find sufficient evidence, administrative inquiry starts. Otherwise, reject the complaint and ordered filed. The requirements for handling complaints will be established in the regulations of this Law Verifying Requirements Article 87. The Committee on Political Participation and Financing, or commission designated for this purpose the National Electoral Council, after receiving the complaint or known to the alleged violation, shall verify compliance with the requirements of the regulation within two working days by remitting the case to the National Electoral Council, which, to find sufficient evidence, administrative inquiry starts. Otherwise, reject the complaint and ordered filed. Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 9
  • 10. Ascertainment Article 88. Started administrative inquiry, the National Electoral Council may direct the Commission on Political Participation and Financing, or the commission to designate for that purpose, that through an act of opening the record form and substance of the inquiry. On receipt of the guarantee of due process and the right to defense, there will be notifying the alleged offender or the alleged offender, so that within five working days following notification, present the arguments and evidence in his defense. After this period, within ten working days, the Commission on Political Participation and Financing, or commission designated for that purpose, presented a draft resolution to the National Electoral Council for its consideration and decision within five working days. Monitoring of the electoral propaganda Article 89. The National Electoral Council will monitor the electoral propaganda, in accordance with the rules adopted in this regard. Preventive measures Article 90. The National Electoral Council, during the administrative proceedings, including the opening act, may or upon request, issue the following preventive measures: order the media, as the case suspension or immediate withdrawal of electoral propaganda in violation of its obligations under this Act. Agreed preventive measure, the alleged offender or the alleged infringement and other stakeholders or interested in the proceedings that are directly affected by these measures, may object to it orally or in writing within five working days from the date of notification . In case of opposition, will open within five working days to claim and promote everything in his favor and protection deemed appropriate, and within five working days to take evidence. After this period, a decision motivated by act within five working days. TITLE V ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE FOR INQUIRIES PROPAGANDA ELECTORAL ADVERTISING ARTICLE 20 .- The National Electoral Council may order the start of administrative investigation procedure, a complaint. The administrative investigation procedure automatically be incurred by decision National Electoral Council. Article 21 .- The complaints were filed in writing, before the Committee Political Participation and Financing or to the Regional Electoral Offices Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 10
  • 11. The complaints they receive the Regional Electoral Offices be incorporated into the Automated Control System in the opportunity receipt and subsequently sent to the Commission's original Participation Policy and Financing the business day following receipt 22 .- The written complaint must contain: 1. The identification of the complainant or, where appropriate, the person acting as its representative and the document evidencing the alleged representation; 2. The narrative summary of the facts or acts constituting the alleged violation; 3. The identification, if possible, the person allegedly responsible; 4. The identification of social media that broadcast and other modes billboards, posters, pamphlets, posters, stickers, etc.; 5. Location verified facts or acts complained of; 6. Copies of the supports or attachments such as videos, photographs, tapes and others; 7. Signature of the complainant or the person acting as legal representative or and address where notifications will be practiced. Not be dealt with complaints that do not meet the requirements set out above Penalty system Article 31 .- Without prejudice to criminal liability, civil or administrative for failure to comply with the provisions contained in the Act and the this regulation will result in the application of sanctions under the Act Organic Elections. ARTICLE 32 .- In accordance with the provisions of Article 74 of Law Organic Elections, in accordance with Article 4 of this candidates or candidates, political organizations, the Voters groups or communities and indigenous organizations not comply with the obligation to inform the National Electoral Council data identification of natural or legal persons authorized to engage election propaganda shall be punished by a fine equivalent to five hundred Tax Units (500 UT) to seven hundred tax units (700 UT) or arrest proportional basis of one day of arrest for Tax Unit, in accordance as provided in Article 233 of the Organic Law of Elections. Article 33 .- Those who violate the regulations under Article 5 of this Regulation on electoral propaganda is not allowed, shall be punished a fine of five thousand tax units (5,000 TU) to seven thousand units Tax (7,000 UT), in accordance with the provisions of Article 232 paragraph 4 Organic Law of Elections. Article 34 .- Those who violate the regulations stipulated in Articles 6 and 7 hereto, shall be punished by a fine of fifteen units Tax (15 UT) to fifty tax units (50 UT), or arrest proportional basis of one day of arrest for Tax Unit, in accordance with the provisions of Article 230 paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Organic Law Process Election. Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 11
  • 12. Article 35 .- Those who violate the regulations stipulated in Articles 8 and 9 of this regulation will be fined five hundred units Tax (500 UT) to seven hundred tax units (700 UT) or arrest proportional basis of one day of arrest for Tax Unit, in accordance with the provisions of Article 233 of the Organic Law of Elections. Article 36 .- The mass media, public or private, and independent producers who comply with the provisions set out in Articles 79 of the Organic Law of Elections and 12 of this (5.000 Regulation will be fined five thousand tax units (5,000 UT) to seven thousand tax units (7,000 UT), in accordance with the provisions Article 232 paragraphs 4 and 7 of the Organic Law of Elections. Article 37 .- In light of the provisions of Article 232 paragraph 1 of Law Organic Elections, the managers and administrators, or those responsible for social media, public or private, shall punished by a fine of five thousand tax units (5,000 TU) to seven thousand Tax Units (7,000 UT), in case of breach of the provisions of Article 80 of the Organic Law on Elections and Article 13 of this Regulation. Article 38 .- In light of the provisions of Article 232 paragraph 6 of the Act Organic Elections, social media, public or (5.000 private, will be fined five thousand tax units (5,000 UT) to seven thousand tax units (7,000 UT), in case of failure to laid down in Article 81 of Law Electoral Processes in Organic relationship with Article 14 of this Regulation. Article 39 .- Those who violate the regulations provided for in Article 82 of the Organic Law of Elections, and Article 15 of this Regulation; will be fined five thousand tax units (5,000 UT) to seven thousand tax units (7,000 UT), in accordance with the provisions of article 232 paragraph 3 of the Organic Law of Elections. Article 40 .- The social media to disseminate information regarding the results of the election process prior to the issuance of the first newsletter official from the National Electoral Council, contrary to the provisions of Article 83 of the Organic Law on Elections and Article 16 of this Regulation, not least out of the provisions of said Article 83 of the Act; will be fined five thousand tax units (5,000 UT) to seven thousand tax units (7,000 UT) tax units, in accordance with laid down in Article 232 of the Act. Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 12
  • 13. Electoral Fairness Audit Results for Media and Broadcasters: Score: The FDA electoral fairness audit team reached consensus on a score of 9/10. Rational for Score: 7 days prior to election day, the media must stop the dissemination of polling results. No use of flags and colors of flags, national symbols and historical leaders etc., part of electoral propaganda. Emphasis on fairness of political content. No phone call intrusions of the public during an election period. No intrusion of the public outside of electoral period. No mention of quantity of political content. TV and radio networks have to be non-partisan. Media must give a complete, balanced electoral coverage. Detailed process for the enforcement of regulations on political content and election propaganda. The score of 90 percent would have been higher if there were more specifics as to how the National Electoral Council monitors media and broadcasters in regard to political content and election propaganda. The high score reflects the emphasis on the impartiality of the media and broadcasters, which is essential to establishing political equality and electoral fairness. Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 13
  • 14. Chapter Two: Candidates’ and Parties’ Influence Chapter two will focus on the research and audit results of Venezuelan laws and regulations with respect to the equality of candidates and parties’ influence before, during and after elections. Executive Summary: Venezuela received an exceptional score of 90 percent for equality of candidate and party influence. Venezuela has a range of laws and regulations which protect voters from undue political influence, and thereby allow voters the opportunity to make their own electoral choices. Also, public and private media and broadcasters are required to be impartial. The National Electoral Council has the power legally and financially to ensure a fair diffusion of electoral propaganda, in order to offset private electoral spending. Further, party registration is based on .5 percent of popular support, and therefore is a democratic barrier to entry. There are no unreasonable restrictions on public marches, meetings, and rallies. Overall, there is a near equal playing field for candidates and parties to compete for political representation of the people. Research Excerpts: The following excerpts were identified by the FDA researchers as relevant. The FDA researchers made some excerpts bold to emphasize high relevance: Article 75. Do not be permitted electoral propaganda: 1. Outside the electoral campaign period established by the National Electoral Council. 2. Attack the honor, privacy, intimacy, self-image, confidence and reputation of individuals. 3. Promote war, discrimination or intolerance. 4. Promote disobedience to the law. 5. Data allowing identification of the sponsor or promoter of electoral propaganda and the Fiscal Information Registry (RIF). 6. The hired or performed by natural or legal persons other than authorized by the candidates and candidates. 7. Discourage the right to vote. 8. Make degrading obscenities against the bodies and entities of public power, institutions and public officials or public servants. 9. Use the image, sound or the presence of children or adolescents. 10. Use national or regional symbols of the nation or the image of the Founding Fathers of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, or the colors of the national flag or regional. 11. Use the image, name or names of any citizen, as well as colors and symbols that identify an organization with political purposes, groups of citizens or citizens without their consent. 12. Violate the rules laid down in legislation on animal protection. 13. The publicly funded other than as provided in these rules. 14. Is funded from abroad. 15. Is privately funded not declared to the National Electoral Council and the National Integrated Customs and Tax Administration (SENIAT). Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 14
  • 15. 16. Actions against the mental health of citizens. 17. Promote stereotypes of gender discrimination or otherwise Article 79. The media, public or private and independent producers can not make on their own any type of propaganda aimed at supporting a candidate or a candidate, or to encourage or discourage voting or vote constituencies for or against any of the nominations. Article 80. The media may not refuse to broadcast election propaganda. In case of doubt or dispute, interested or concerned may request the National Electoral Council to determine whether the electoral propaganda meets the requirements of these rules, and its decision shall be compulsory. Prohibition of publication of opinion polls Article 82. It is prohibited to publish or disclose, through any social media or other media, during the period of seven days prior to voting, the results of opinion polls or surveys that aim to present preferences or voting intentions of electors or voters. It prohibits the publication of surveys that do not have sheet. Article 10. The regional parties will be formed by registration in the registry that purpose by the Supreme Electoral Council. 1. Registration applications must be accompanied by the following documents: List of party members no fewer than 0.5percent of the population registered on the electoral register of the respective entity. [Venezuelan population as 2011 27,635,743 almost 140,000 members] The list will specify their names, age, address and identity card 2. 2. Manifestation of the will of party members belonging to it. 3. 3. Three copies of its statement of principles of its Charter, its political action program and its statutes. One of these copies are filed in the Supreme Electoral Council file another will be sent to Ministry of Interior and the third will be submitted to the Government concerned. 4. 4. Description and drawing of the symbols and emblems of the party 5. 5. Indication of the supreme bodies of the party leaders, who charge it up and play within them Reform of Presidential Term Limits Article 230 of the 1999 Constitution establishes that the presidential term limit will be of six years and that any president can be re-elected once. Under the proposed reform, the presidential term would be extended to seven years and any sitting president would be allowed to seek another consecutive term. Propaganda election is all advertising elements and parts, disseminated and displayed by all means at its disposal that election messages express the organizations and their candidates and candidates for popular election, during the course of a presidential campaign. Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 15
  • 16. Electoral Notification to the National Electoral Council Organic Law of Electoral Processes Article 71. The term campaign of public activities carried out by candidates, political organizations and groups of electors whose purpose recruit, encourage or persuade voters to vote for a candidate or a candidate within the period designated by the National Electoral Council. Principles and Rights Article 72. The interpretation and application of these standards will be subject to the principles and rights: 1. Participants in the electoral process. 2. Liberty of thought and expression. 3. Communication and information free, diverse, pluralistic, accurate and timely. 4. Prohibition of censorship without prejudice to any further generated. 5. Democratization, participation and full exercise of popular sovereignty. 6. Respect for the honor, privacy, intimacy, self-image, confidence and reputation of individuals. 7. Social responsibility and solidarity. 8. Respect of different ideas and the promotion of tolerance, transparency, peaceful coexistence, political pluralism, democracy and the observance of human rights. 9. Respect of the Venezuelan state institutions. 10. Equal access to social media. Chapter II Election Propaganda Propaganda election is all advertising elements and parts, disseminated and displayed by all means at its disposal that election messages express the organizations and their candidates and candidates for popular election, during the course of a presidential campaign. Electoral Notification to the National Electoral Council Article 74. Representatives of candidates and candidates must report in writing to the National Electoral Council, within five days following the call, the identification data of the natural or legal persons authorized by them to employ propaganda. The identification data must include full names, identity card or Tax Information Registry (RIF), the capacity in which they operate and address or address for the purpose of any notification. The list of authorized persons is published by the National Electoral Council. Propaganda Electioneering is not allowed Article 75. Do not be permitted electoral propaganda: 1. Outside the electoral campaign period established by the National Electoral Council. 2. Attack the honor, privacy, intimacy, self-image, confidence and reputation of individuals. 3. Promote war, discrimination or intolerance. Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 16
  • 17. 4. Promote disobedience to the law. 5. Data allowing identification of the sponsor or promoter of electoral propaganda and the Fiscal Information Registry (RIF). 6. The hired or performed by natural or legal persons other than authorized by the candidates and candidates. 7. Discourage the right to vote. 8. Make degrading obscenities against the bodies and entities of public power, institutions and public officials or public servants. 9. Use the image, sound or the presence of children or adolescents. 10.Use national or regional symbols of the nation or the image of the Founding Fathers of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, or the colors of the national flag or regional. 11.Use the image, name or names of any citizen, as well as colors and symbols that identify an organization with political purposes, groups of citizens or citizens without their consent. 12. Violate the rules laid down in legislation on animal protection. 13. The publicly funded other than as provided in these rules. 14. Is funded from abroad. 15. Is privately funded not declared to the National Electoral Council and the National Integrated Customs and Tax Administration (SENIAT). 16. Actions against the mental health of citizens. 17. Promote stereotypes of gender discrimination or otherwise Article 76. Is prohibited outdoor advertising, drawings, advertisements or other means of election propaganda: 1. The buildings where power organs and public bodies. 2. The churches, clinics, hospitals and homes. 3. The public monuments and trees. 4. The public places where they prevent or impede the free movement of people and vehicles. 5. The public places for children's activities. 6. The preschools, primary and secondary. 7. The public goods and the goods to services. 8. Parties homes or private buildings without the express consent of its owner or owners or occupiers, who may remove the advertising or electioneering to be placed without his consent. Prohibition of destruction of propaganda Article 77. Is hereby prohibited during the campaign period, removal or destruction of all or part of any electoral propaganda, except as set for this purpose the National Electoral Council in accordance with the provisions of this Act, without prejudice to any action to reserve the National Electoral Council to comply. Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 17
  • 18. Chapter V: Political Advertising Article 30. The political associations have the right to advertise by any means of dissemination of ideas, oral or written, with the limitations established by the evidence and the law. Article 31. The political propaganda through loudspeakers mounted on vehicles or carried by any other means, may be made prior participation in the civil authority for the purposes of inviting the public to public meetings or demonstrations. Excepted from the provisions of the Electoral Act during the elections. Article 32. The fixing of posters, drawings and other propaganda materials may be in buildings or houses, with the consent of the occupants. Not be allowed in public buildings or monuments, not temples. Prohibiting the use of patriotic symbols and portraits or pictures of the heroes of our independence in party propaganda. Article 33. The violators of the provisions contained in the two preceding articles shall be punished by arrest for a fortnight without prejudice to any action that such acts could lead. Article 34. Do not allow anonymous political publications or those which violate human dignity or offend public morals or which are intended to promote the disobedience of the laws, without which this can restrict the analysis or criticism legal precepts. Any publication of a political nature must take the corresponding imprint. Police authorities must contain all propaganda and publications made in contravention of this section, subject to the liabilities they may incur actors. Article 35. The publications, radio stations, television and other off Chapter II: From the Constitution of the Parties Article 8. Citizen groups desiring to form a political party shall engage the civil authority of the district or department with details of local offices to be established, whose fronts and visible to the public, posted notice or nameplates provisional name of acting. Premises will be closed associations or political groups to operate without complying with the requirements prescribed in the first part of this article. Citizens' associations which run candidates in the electoral process, in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, may be local or office and organize as political parties, during the electoral process, after fulfilling the requirements of this article. Article 9. The political parties may be national or regional Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 18
  • 19. Article 10. The regional parties will be formed by registration in the registry that purpose by the Supreme Electoral Council. 1. Registration applications must be accompanied by the following documents: List of party members no fewer than 0.5% of the population registered on the electoral register of the respective entity. The list will specify their names, age, address and identity card 2. 2. Manifestation of the will of party members belonging to it. 3. 3. Three copies of its statement of principles of its Charter, its political action program and its statutes. One of these copies are filed in the Supreme Electoral Council file another will be sent to Ministry of Interior and the third will be submitted to the Government concerned. 4. 4. Description and drawing of the symbols and emblems of the party 5. 5. Indication of the supreme bodies of the party leaders, who charge it up and play within them 1: The members of the party to appear on the payroll referred to the ordinal 1 of this Article shall be domiciled in the respective Entity Paragraph 2: The leaders of the party authorized by signing the above actions, in accordance with its Statute. Paragraph 3: The application form may be transmitted by the interested parties directly to the Supreme Electoral Council or through the Government of the respective entity. ARTICLE 14 .- The media will give a public and private and balanced coverage of the information related and without distorting the reality of the campaign. To this end, observe a strict balance in time and space dedicated to information relating to activities undertaken by the candidate or candidates. TITLE V ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE FOR INQUIRIES PROPAGANDA ELECTORAL ADVERTISING ARTICLE 20 .- The National Electoral Council may order the start of administrative investigation procedure, a complaint. The administrative investigation procedure automatically be incurred by decision National Electoral Council. Article 21 .- The complaints were filed in writing, before the Committee Political Participation and Financing or to the Regional Electoral Offices The complaints they receive the Regional Electoral Offices be incorporated into the Automated Control System in the opportunity receipt and subsequently sent to the Commission's original Participation Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 19
  • 20. Policy and Financing the business day following receipt Article 22 .- The written complaint must contain: 1. The identification of the complainant or, where appropriate, the person acting as its representative and the document evidencing the alleged representation; 2. The narrative summary of the facts or acts constituting the alleged violation; 3. The identification, if possible, the person allegedly responsible; 4. The identification of social media that broadcast and other modes billboards, posters, pamphlets, posters, stickers, etc.; 5. Location verified facts or acts complained of; 6. Copies of the supports or attachments such as videos, photographs, tapes and others; 7. Signature of the complainant or the person acting as legal representative or and address where notifications will be practiced. Not be dealt with complaints that do not meet the requirements set out above Organic Law of the Electoral Power Chapter VI, Ord. 64, Art. 66: ARTICLE 66: The Commission on Political Participation and Financing has the following functions: 1. To organize the registration and registration of political organizations, groups and voter, associations of citizens and citizens, and monitor for them to perform their constitutional and legal provisions governing their status of democratization, organization and management. 2. Create mechanisms to facilitate the participation of citizens in the electoral process and other popular referendums. 3. Monitor compliance with constitutional and legal provisions in relation to the funds and the financing of electoral campaigns of political organizations, constituent groups, associations of citizens or citizens, and the candidate or candidates on their own initiative. 4. Investigate the origin and destination of economic resources used in election campaigns of political organizations, group of voters, citizens or citizens' associations and the candidates or candidates nominated or nominated by their own initiative, in accordance with the provisions of law. 5. Request the National Electoral Council beginning of investigations of alleged administrative irregularities committed in the elections, referendum and other consultations, where they are elements that might be considered crimes or misdemeanors. 6. Order the withdrawal of all advertisements for direct or indirect election, deemed a violation of the law. 7. Arrange with the National Electoral Council the credentials of the observer or national or international observers in electoral processes, referendums and other popular national, in accordance with the provisions of the law. 8. Process before the National Electoral Council, or the credentials of the witnesses of the organizations whose record will compete in the elections, referendums and other popular consultations in accordance with the provisions in the Act 9. Supervise permanent training centers, education and election information. 10. The other functions stipulated by law and regulation Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 20
  • 21. Electoral Fairness Audit Results for Equality of Candidates and Parties: Score: The FDA electoral fairness audit team reached consensus on a score of 9/10. Rational for Score: National debates are open to all registered parties and their leaders, as part of the impartiality of media, and fair, complete and balanced electoral coverage. Sound restrictions on the disbursement of election propaganda to the public, which protects the privacy and interests of the public, without inhibiting their ability to be informed electorally. Political content in media must be non-partisan—complete and balanced. Party registration based on popular support and not money--.5% of corresponding voting population. Venezuela has two dominant national parties and 5 or more small national parties. (In the FDA’s opinion,.5% percent as a barrier to entry to receive party registration is democratic, in the sense it focuses on popular support rather than money. Also, the barrier of entry is necessary because of the electoral privileges from being registered including fair media access and exposure.) The media cannot refuse election propaganda from a registered party. Venezuelan laws and regulations create an equal playing field for political candidates and parties: every party has same access to the media, the media itself has to be non-partisan, foundations and corporations cannot donate to parties, and opinion polls must be stopped 7 days prior to the Election Day. In addition, the National Electoral Council has the power to intervene to ensure a complete and balanced electoral coverage: “The National Electoral Council may finance in part or in full, the diffusion of electoral propaganda in the media of radio, television or printed, in accordance with regulations established for that purpose.” However, the regulations guiding the National Electoral Council’s intervention for fair diffusion of electoral propaganda are not present in any of the documents the FDA looked at. Nor are the regulations present in the list of legal and regulatory documents on the National Electoral Council’s website. The score of 90 percent would have been higher, if there were specifics on the regulations of the National Electoral Council’s intervention to ensure fair diffusion of electoral propaganda. Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 21
  • 22. Chapter Three: Electoral Finance Chapter three will focus on the research and audit results of Venezuelan laws and regulations with respect to the equality of Venezuelan laws and regulations with respect to electoral finance. Executive Summary: Venezuela received a very satisfactory score of 80 percent for electoral finance. There are few limits on electoral spending, although the National Electoral Council can intervene to ensure a fair diffusion of electoral propaganda. Also, legal entities are disallowed from donating directly to political parties, and public political subsidies are disallowed as well. The score would have been higher if there were more specifics on the intervention of the National Electoral Council. Research Excerpts: The following excerpts were identified by the FDA researchers as relevant. The FDA researchers made some excerpts bold to emphasize high relevance: Matters relating to the financing of and private contributions to associations for political purposes shall be regulated by law, as shall the oversight mechanisms to guarantee propriety as to the sources and handling of such funds. Law shall regulate as well, political and election campaigns, the duration thereof and spending limits with a view pursuing its democratization. Article 75. Do not permit electoral propaganda: 13. The publicly funded other than as provided in these rules. 14. Is funded from abroad. 15. Is privately funded not declared to the National Electoral Council and the National Integrated Customs and Tax Administration (SENIAT). Only individuals may donate to political parties. Chapter III Social Electoral Propaganda in Social Media Financing The National Electoral Council may finance part or in full, the diffusion of electoral propaganda in the media of radio, television or printed, in accordance with regulations established for that purpose. [The National Electoral Council is legally obligated to ensure a complete and balanced coverage in diffusion of electoral propaganda.] Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 22
  • 23. Coverage Article 81. The mass media and private information will be given a complete and balanced coverage of related information and without distorting the reality of the campaign. To this end, observe a strict balance in time and space dedicated to information relating to activities carried out by the candidate or candidates. Venezuela National Constitution: Chapter V: Electoral Power Article 292: Electoral Power is exercised by the National Electoral Council as governing body, and by the latter's subordinate organs, the National Board of Elections, the Civil Status and Voter Registration Commission and the Commission on Political Participation and Financing, with organization and functioning as established under the pertinent organic law. (9) To control, regulate and investigate the funds raised to finance organizations for political purposes. Organic Law of the Electoral Power Chapter VI, Ord. 64, Art. 66: ARTICLE 66: The Commission on Political Participation and Financing has the following functions: 1. 1. To organize the registration and registration of political organizations, groups and voter, associations of citizens and citizens, and monitor for them to perform their constitutional and legal provisions governing their status of democratization, organization and management. 2. Create mechanisms to facilitate the participation of citizens in the electoral process and other popular referendums. 3. Monitor compliance with constitutional and legal provisions in relation to the funds and the financing of electoral campaigns of political organizations, constituent groups, associations of citizens or citizens, and the candidate or candidates on their own initiative. 4. Investigate the origin and destination of economic resources used in election campaigns of political organizations, group of voters, citizens or citizens' associations and the candidates or candidates nominated or nominated by their own initiative, in accordance with the provisions of law. 5. Request the National Electoral Council beginning of investigations of alleged administrative irregularities committed in the elections, referendum and other consultations, where they are elements that might be considered crimes or misdemeanors. 6. Order the withdrawal of all advertisements for direct or indirect election, deemed a violation of the law. 7. Arrange with the National Electoral Council the credentials of the observer or national or international observers in electoral processes, referendums and other popular national, in accordance with the provisions of the law. 8. Process before the National Electoral Council, or the credentials of the witnesses of the organizations whose record will compete in the elections, referendums and other Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 23
  • 24. popular consultations in accordance with the provisions in the Act 9. Supervise permanent training centers, education and election information. 10. The other functions stipulated by law and regulation. Electoral Fairness Audit Results for Venezuelan Election Finance: Score: The FDA electoral fairness audit team reached consensus on a score of 8/10. Rational for Score: With no electoral spending limit on citizens, including campaign donations and third-party advertising, the wealthy citizens have an advantage in influencing the outcome of elections. However, the National Election Council has the power to ensure a complete and balanced coverage of election propaganda. Corporations and unions are disallowed from making donations to political parties, which helps lessen the impact of no spending limit on citizens. No public financing of candidates or parties, which helps prevent electoral unfairness like in Egypt (under Mubarak) and Cameroon, where the governments through the use of public funds favor parties aligned with the state. In addition to voting, citizens have an opportunity to express themselves further through electoral spending. Freedom of expression versus electoral unfairness. The freedom of expression of Venezuelan citizens coupled with restrictions on corporations and unions overcomes any resulting electoral unfairness, but only to a level of more electoral fairness than electoral unfairness. Further, the intervention of National Electoral Council offsets electoral unfairness from unequal electoral spending, and a resulting imbalance and incomplete coverage of election propaganda. With more specifics to the Venezuelan electoral finance laws on the National Electoral Council’s “diffusion of electoral propaganda”, the score of 80 percent would have been higher. Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 24
  • 25. Chapter Four: Voter Say Chapter four will focus on the research and audit results of Venezuelan laws and regulations with respect to the equality of voter say laws and regulations before, during and after an election. Executive Summary: Venezuela received a very satisfactory score of 80 percent for equality of voter say. Venezuela has specific and detailed laws protecting its citizens from the political elements of society. There are no unreasonable restrictions on the freedom of expression of voters, including no limits on citizen donations to parties. Also, corporations and unions are disallowed from donating directly to parties, which helps prevent unbalanced electoral influence. The score would have been higher if there were more specifics on the intervention of the National Election Council to ensure a fair diffusion of election propaganda. Research Excerpts: The following excerpts were identified by the FDA researchers as relevant. The FDA researchers made some excerpts bold to emphasize high relevance: Article 57: Everyone has the right to express freely his or her thoughts, ideas or opinions orally, in writing or by any other form of expression, and to use for such purpose any means of communication and diffusion, and no censorship shall be established. Anyone making use of this right assumes full responsibility for everything expressed. Anonymity, war propaganda, discriminatory messages or those promoting religious intolerance are not permitted. Article 65: Persons who have been convicted* of crimes committed while holding office or other offenses against public property, shall be ineligible to run for any office filled by popular vote, for such period as may be prescribed by law after serving their sentences, depending on the seriousness of the offense. Article 125: Native peoples have the right to participate in politics. The State shall guarantee native representation in the National Assembly and the deliberating organs of federal and local entities with a native population, in accordance with law. Article 72. The interpretation and application of these standards will be subject to the principles and rights: 1. Participants in the electoral process. 2. Liberty of thought and expression. 3. Communication and information free, diverse, pluralistic, accurate and timely. 4. Prohibition of censorship without prejudice to any further generated. 5. Democratization, participation and full exercise of popular sovereignty. 6. Respect for the honor, privacy, intimacy, self-image, confidence and reputation of individuals. Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 25
  • 26. 7. Social responsibility and solidarity. 8. Respect of different ideas and the promotion of tolerance, transparency, peaceful coexistence, political pluralism, democracy and the observance of human rights. 9. Respect of the Venezuelan state institutions. 10. Equal access to social media. Venezuelan Constitution: Article 2: Venezuela constitutes itself as a Democratic and Social State of Law and Justice, which holds as superior values of its legal order and actions those of life, liberty, justice, equality, solidarity, democracy, social responsibility and, in general, the preeminence of human rights, ethics and political pluralism. Article 3: The essential purposes of the State are the protection and development of the individual and respect for the dignity of the individual, the democratic exercise of the will of the people, the building of a just and peace-loving society, the furtherance of the prosperity and welfare of the people and the guaranteeing of the Fulfillment of the principles, rights and duties established in this Constitution. Education and work are the fundamental processes for guaranteeing these purposes. Article 57: Everyone has the right to express freely his or her thoughts, ideas or opinions orally, in writing or by any other form of expression, and to use for such purpose any means of communication and diffusion, and no censorship shall be established. Anyone making use of this right assumes full responsibility for everything expressed. Anonymity, war propaganda, discriminatory messages or those promoting religious intolerance are not permitted. *** Article 67: All citizens have the right of association for political purposes, through democratic methods of organization, operation and direction. Their governing organs and candidates for offices filled by popular vote, shall be selected by internal elections with participation of their members. No financing of associations for political purposes with State funds shall be permitted. Matters relating to the financing of and private contributions to associations for political purposes shall be regulated by law, as shall the oversight mechanisms to guarantee propriety as to the sources and handling of such funds. Law shall regulate as well, political and election campaigns, the duration thereof and spending limits with a view pursuing its democratization. Citizens*, on their own initiative, and associations for political purposes, shall be entitled to participate in the electoral process, putting forward candidates*. The financing of political advertising and election campaigns shall be regulated by law. The authorities of associations for political purposes shall not enter into contracts with organs in the public sector. Article 65: Persons who have been convicted* of crimes committed while holding office or other offenses against public property, shall be ineligible to run for any office filled by popular vote, for such period as may be prescribed by law after serving their sentences, depending on the seriousness of the offense. Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 26
  • 27. *** Article 70: Participation and involvement of people in the exercise of their sovereignty in political affairs can be manifested by: voting to fill public offices, referendum, consultation of public opinion, mandate revocation, legislative, constitutional and constituent initiative, open forums and meetings of citizens whose decisions shall be binding among others; and in social and economic affairs: citizen service organs, self-management, co-management, cooperatives in all forms, including those of a financial nature, savings funds, community enterprises, and other forms of association guided by the values of mutual cooperation and solidarity. The law shall establish conditions for the effective, functioning of the means of participation provided for under the present article. Electoral Fairness Audit Results for Equality of Voter Say: Score: The FDA electoral fairness audit team reached consensus on a score of 8/10. Rational for Score: Venezuelan natives are guaranteed National Assembly seats and thereby representation in the Assembly. Voters have freedom of political expression within reasonable limits of the law. Venezuelan’s electoral finance laws favor the wealthy, thereby create electoral unfairness. This inequality reduced the score from 10 to 8. However, the National Electoral Council has the power to intervene to ensure a fair coverage of electoral propaganda. Nevertheless, some voters through financial and media access will have an opportunity to have more say than other voters. It is questionable that the National Electoral Council could fully offset this inequality, which can take many forms and when the National Electoral Council does not know the views of all voters with less means for say. Venezuelan legislation protects society and citizens from unreasonable, disrespectful, aggressive election campaigning. Venezuelan citizens are protected from election propaganda outside of election periods. This legislation protects citizens from badgering, harassment etc. and allows them to form their own opinions and give them reprieve from the political elements of society. Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 27
  • 28. Chapter Five: Audit Results Chapter five will set out the FDA’s scores for each of the areas of the Venezuelan electoral system as set out above. 1. Research and audit results for Venezuelan laws and regulations on the political content of media including newspapers, broadcasters, online media, before, during, and after elections. 9/10 2. Research and audit results for Venezuelan Laws and regulations on the equality of candidates and parties influence before, during and after elections. 9/10 3. Research and audit results for Venezuelan laws and regulations on electoral finance. 8/10 4. Research and audit results for laws and regulations on the equality of voter say before, during, and after an election. 8/10 Total score: 34/40 85 percent Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 28
  • 29. Chapter Six: Analysis Chapter six will provide a brief analysis of the FDA’s findings. Venezuela’s 85 percent overall score for electoral fairness means that the Venezuelan federal electoral system, in terms of laws and regulations, is exceptionally more fair than unfair. From the FDA electoral fairness grade scale, an A+ grade refers to outstanding electoral laws and regulations for the country (overall flawless and original laws and regulations on the equality of political news coverage on mainstream media (including broadcasters and newspapers), equality of campaign finances, equality of candidate and party influence, and equality voter influence. (An A+ grade equates to greater than 84.99% and less than 100.1%)) Venezuela scored 90 percent in two of the FDA’s four categories for electoral fairness, and 80 percent in the other categories. To put Venezuela’s electoral fairness score in context, the United States received a failing overall score of 30 percent and Egypt (under Mubarak) received a failing overall score of 0 percent. The 15 percent short of 100 percent for electoral fairness means that there are areas in Venezuela’s laws and regulations which can be improved. In the equality of political content in the media section, Venezuela’s score would have been 95 percent to 100 percent if there were more specifics on how the National Electoral Council monitors the political content of media and broadcasters in order to enforce the standard of impartiality. In the equality of candidate and party influence section, Venezuela’s score would have been 95 percent to 100 percent if there were specifics on the regulations of the National Electoral Council’s intervention, financially, to ensure a fair diffusion of electoral propaganda. In the electoral finance section, Venezuela’s score would have been 90 percent to 100 percent if there were specifics on the regulations of the National Electoral Council’s intervention, financially, to ensure a fair diffusion of electoral propaganda. In the equality of voter say section, Venezuela’s score would have been 90 percent to 100 percent, if there were more specifics as to how the National Electoral Council can overcome the inequality of voter say through unlimited electoral spending (which favors wealthy voters) and unequal media access. Venezuela’s legal and constitutional emphasis on fair political content and the rights of citizens extends, consistently, through its electoral laws. Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 29
  • 30. Chapter Seven: Conclusion Chapter seven will provide a summary of the FDA’s findings. Based on Venezuela’s overall score of 85 percent for electoral fairness, 90 percent score for two of the audit sections, and 80 percent for the other sections, Venezuela’s electoral laws and regulations are exceptionally fair, and thereby highly democratic. The source of Venezuela’s electoral fairness starts with the Venezuelan Constitution which emphasizes the rights of citizens, and a cooperative, pluralistic, and respectful society. Moreover, in Venezuela, unlike in the United States and Canada for examples, there is a clear separation between the Venezuelan government and private media and broadcasters. This separation, in the opinion of the FDA, creates the impetus to ensure fair, equitable political content in the media and on broadcasters during elections. Whereas, the lack of separation between government and media in the USA and Canada creates an undemocratic relationship between government and public and private media and broadcasters, and a corresponding choke on democracy through the domination of government (i.e. dominant parties) and the major media and broadcasters. The American and Canadian electoral systems put no restrictions on the political content of the private media and broadcasters, and in their Constitutions and electoral laws, there is no mention of electoral fairness and political equality. As long as Venezuela’s election laws are enforced, the potential issue from the union of government and public and private media and broadcasters can be avoided. To maintain Venezuela’s exceptional standard of democracy in its electoral laws, it is imperative that there continues to be a separation between government and private media and broadcasters. Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 30
  • 31. Chapter Eight: Recommendations Chapter eight will set out the FDA’s recommendations on how Venezuela can improve its electoral fairness score and thereby its electoral fairness. 1) Venezuela’s electoral laws need to be more specific regarding the role the National Electoral Council in monitoring the impartiality of the media and broadcasters. Also, Venezuelan electoral laws need to be more specific regarding the role of the National Electoral Council in ensuring a fair diffusion of electoral propaganda through financial intervention. 2) Venezuela needs to identify a way to ensure the separation of government and private media and broadcasters. One way is to enshrine the concepts of political equality, electoral fairness, and fairness of political content in the Venezuelan Constitution. The current statement from Article 67 of the Constitution, “the financing of political advertising and election campaigns shall be regulated by law” needs to be more direct and specific. 3) The Venezuelan government through laws and their enforcement must ensure that state TV and Radio conforms to the same impartial standards of private media and broadcasters. To allow a partisan state TV and Radio will create significant electoral unfairness, just as a partisan private media and broadcasters would do as well. Although the FDA acknowledges that a partisan state media and broadcasters can offset partisan private media and broadcasters and vise versa. The FDA believes that electoral fairness is at the heart of pure democracy. The more fair electorally a country is, the more democratic the country will be. Therefore, the FDA believes that by improving electoral fairness, pure democracy in Venezuela will be advanced which in turn will improve the status of Venezuelans as a whole. Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 31
  • 32. References: The following information was consulted and utilized in this audit report: First Amendment to the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Constitution of the Bolivian Republic of Venezuela Venezuelan Organic Law of the Electoral Procedure Venezuelan Organic Law of the Civil Registry Venezuelan Organic Law of the Municipal Power Venezuelan Law for Political Parties, Public Meetings and Demonstrations Venezuelan Regulation No. 5 of the Organic Law Electoral Process Field of Control of Campaign Finance Venezuelan Regulation No. 6 of the Organic Law Electoral Process Field of Propaganda During the Electoral Campaign Venezuelan Embassy in Canada (FDA received information from the Venezuelan Embassy on specific electoral legislation.) Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 32
  • 33. Appendix: FDA Global Audit Results as of September 9, 2011: Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 33
  • 34. FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Results Overall Electoral Fairness Audit Scores <-- failing range|passing range --> 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% France Venezuela Bolivia Norway New Zealand Finland Lebanon Iraq Denmark Russia Sweden Argentina United States Canada Azerbaijan Mexico Tunisia Cameroon Yemen Bahrain Egypt Iran Libya Saudi Arabia Syria ©2011 Foundation for Democratic Advancement Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 34
  • 35. FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Results Laws and regulations on the equality of political content of the media and broadcasters before, during, and after an election <-- failing range | passing range --> 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Russia Venezuela France Bolivia Norway Lebanon Iraq Azerbaijan Denmark Finland Sweden United States Canada Argentina Tunisia New Zealand Yemen Bahrain Cameroon Egypt Iran Libya Mexico Saudi Arabia Syria ©2011 Foundation for Democratic Advancement Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 35
  • 36. FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Results Laws and regulations on the equality of candidate and political party influence before, during, and after an election <-- failing range | passing range --> 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% France Venezuela New Zealand Bolivia Norway Finland Lebanon Sweden United States Iraq Azerbaijan Argentina Denmark Russia Canada Mexico Bahrian Cameroon Egypt Iran Libya Saudi Arabia Syria Tunisia Yemen ©2011 Foundation for Democratic Advancement Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 36
  • 37. FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Results Laws and regulations on the equality of electoral (campaign) finance <-- failing range | passing range --> 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% France Venezuela Bolivia New Zealand Finland Norway Argentina Denmark Lebanon Sweden Tunisia Azerbaijan Cameroon Canada Mexico United States Bahrain Egypt Iran Iraq Libya Russia Saudi Arabia Syria Yemen ©2011 Foundation for Democratic Advancement Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 37
  • 38. FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Results Laws and regulations on the equality of voter influence before, during, and after an election <-- failing range | passing range --> 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% France Bolivia Venezuela Argentina Iraq Mexico Canada Denmark Finland New Zealand United States Sweden Lebanon Norway Russia Azerbaijan Bahrain Cameroon Egypt Iran Libya Saudi Arabia Syria Tunisia Yemen ©2011 Foundation for Democratic Advancement Foundation for Democratic Advancement Page 38